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Floods in British Columbia: four people missing after mudslides

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Floods in British Columbia: four people missing after mudslides

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RCMP said they received four reports of people missing since a mudslide on a highway in British Columbia on Monday.

RCMP spokeswoman Dawn Roberts said the reports were linked to the massive mudslide on Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lilooet.

One death has been confirmed in the mudslide.

SIKH COMMUNITY HELICOPTER TO DELIVER FOOD

Members of the Sikh community in Surrey, British Columbia, gathered during the province’s flood crisis to prepare thousands of meals for starving victims while chartering a helicopter at their own expense to deliver food to communities isolated.

A brigade of people, young and old, spent time preparing 3,000 meals a day in the kitchen of the town’s Dukh Nivaran Sahib Gurdwara, while a constant stream of donated supplies circulated through the place of worship.

With many highways closed and access to flood-affected communities limited, paying for private helicopter service seemed like the only way to get goods to those who needed them most.

“So many people are stuck there and they don’t have food,” Gurdwara chairman Narinder Singh Walia told CTV News. “We try to reach them with food, blankets and other things.”

Walia said the group planned to hire a plane on Thursday to deliver supplies to Merritt and Kamloops.

They are asking anyone who wishes to help by donating groceries to drop them off at the gurdwara at 15255 68th Ave. in Surrey. People can also donate money to help with the cost of flights.

ABBOTSFORD ‘ISN’T OUT OF IT BY A LONG STROKE’

Despite the lifting of some evacuation orders and the decline of water in some areas, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun warned the town “was not far away” and that some situations would become more complicated , especially since water was still flowing from the flooded Nooksack River. in Washington state.

“This is a situation that we are monitoring very closely,” Braun said in a briefing Thursday. “The water has receded to a pretty good level over the past 24 hours on the west side. But the Nooksack continues to cross the border… and that’s why the water is rising.”

Emergency evacuation orders remain in place for residents of the Sumas Prairie as the Barrowtown pumping station is operating at full capacity to prevent what authorities believe to be “catastrophic” flooding in the area. A boil water advisory is also in place.

Braun said there was even more water entering the city’s system than is pumped, with more rain expected Thursday and next week.

About 600 people have been forced from their homes in Abbotsford since the flooding began. The list of evacuation orders continues to be updated on the city’s website.

MILITARY RESPONSE

Federal Defense Minister Anita Anand has confirmed that by the end of Thursday, 120 members of the Canadian Armed Forces will be on the ground in Abbotsford, B.C. to help deal with the emergency related to the floods.

“Over the next 30 days, and possibly longer if necessary, the Canadian Armed Forces will be there to help the people of British Columbia through this crisis,” said Anand.

“They can evacuate people to safety, offer assistance to those who are vulnerable, stranded or in distress, support critical provincial supply chains, investigate the impacts of flooding to help BC plan for relief efforts.” relief efforts and help local authorities protect critical infrastructure. “

Up to 350 people are ready to deploy from Edmonton as part of the Immediate Response Unit. There are currently two CAF operated helicopters roaming the area to assess damage.

TRANSPORTS CANADA ISSUES NOTAMS

Transport Canada has also issued a warning to airmen to prohibit all aircraft, including drones, from flying less than 1,000 feet between Abbotsford Airport and Chilliwack Airport until midnight PST Thursday.

The agency is also urging the public to “avoid unnecessary travel” to the Chilliwack airport at this time.

MERRITT’S EVACUATION ORDER CONTINUES

Meanwhile, an evacuation order issued for the town of Merritt on Monday remains in effect.

In a statement on Wednesday, the city’s mayor, Linda Brown, said she had “personally spoken” with Prime Minister Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“They both expressed their thoughts of mourning, their respect for the resilience of Merrittonians and their commitment to the province and the federal government to support the residents of Merritt,” the statement said.

Brown said the city had its support to meet the “immediate and long-term needs” of the communities.

According to Brown, the city’s emergency operations team is now working to bring home residents whose homes were not affected by the flooding, and then will work to allow the “safe return. residents whose homes were flooded “.

“As soon as we can provide potable water and the toilets are flush, we’ll get you home,” Brown said.

Teams are also working to assess roads, bridges and damage to homes across the city.

They also work to clean up debris.

Brown also said there was a “large RCMP contingent in the community,” which worked primarily on rescue operations and on securing and protecting property.

Also on Wednesday, the Houston Street Bridge was reopened after inspection by an engineer. Although officials said the Main Street Bridge remains closed to traffic.

A DEATH, MORE EXPECTED

Authorities confirmed on Tuesday that a woman died from the devastating mudslides on Highway 99, south of Lillooet.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Horgan said more deaths are expected.

To date, at least three people have been reported missing in the area.

VIA RAIL AND CN HELP BLOCKED EVACUATES

In an email to CTV News, Via Rail said the company worked with Canadian National (CN) on Wednesday evening to “organize an emergency evacuation program.”

Via Rail said Emergency Management BC needed a train to run on CN’s network to transport about 200 stranded people in the Lower Mainland area.

“CN has contacted VIA Rail to have a train evacuate those stranded in Hope, BC,” the email read. “We are really proud to have been able to offer our assistance during this emergency.”

The company said “no further races” were scheduled for Thursday.

ROAD FARMS CONTINUE

In a tweet Wednesday night, the BC government said many roads continued to be closed or limited to one-lane traffic.

“Please do not travel unless essential,” the post read.

Officials said teams were working to reopen roads from the Lower Mainland to the interior and north to “keep people and supply chains moving.”

A list of road closures is available here.

With files from Ben Miljure, Alyse Kotyk and Sarah Turnbull of CTV News, and The Canadian Press


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