Evacuees leave homes due to flooding, decide to help out with Princeton mitigation work | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Evacuees leave homes due to flooding, decide to help out with Princeton mitigation work

Flooding near Princeton, Nov. 28, 2021.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Mackayla Marie Wagner

A Princeton Metis association helping those impacted by flooding is getting a hand from the evacuees themselves.

Ed Vermette, vice-president of the Vermilion Forks Métis Association, which has about 100 members, said volunteers have been helping with mitigation efforts after the small community was flooded when the Tulameen River overflowed its banks.

READ MORE: Next B.C. storm could be as intense as the first: Province

Some of the volunteers are evacuees and one, currently evacuated from Merritt, has shown up every morning, he said. Another person living in his camper from North Vancouver is also volunteering his time.

“When this crisis happened, we knew we had to do something… so one day we were making turkey sandwiches, the next day we had a soup kitchen,” he said, adding that they received funding from private donations and the Vernon Metis Association and have been purchasing cleanup supplies for the community.

READ MORE: Canadian Armed Forces ‘godsend’ as Princeton prepares for rising river waters

“It’s tough, everybody’s doing what they can… and you’ve got a lot of seniors that can’t help themselves so they’re reaching out,” Vermette said. “Even this morning I had people from Oliver, Osoyoos and Penticton show up.”

This is the first time he’s seen such an outpouring of support from residents within and outside of the community. The former owner of the Similkameen Spotlight newspaper and longtime resident of Princeton remembers the last big flood in 1995 when he carried out computers and handed them to strangers since the newspaper building flooded.

The Vermilion Forks Métis Association isn’t the only group volunteering in town, Vermette said, adding “this is typical of the Princeton way, it’s what we do.”

“It’s amazing that a lot of evacuees are helping,” Vermette said.

Along Highway 3 about 13 km east of town, he’s received a notification that a house is flooding due to the Similkameen River, he said. Residents are also reporting high waters next to the highway.


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