Kelowna was ready for 2,000 flood evacuees who arrived in city | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna was ready for 2,000 flood evacuees who arrived in city


Kelowna has supported approximately 2,000 displaced evacuees with food, clothing and shelter since evacuation orders were issued after last week's rainstorm and catastrophic flooding in B.C.

“People have been coming and going,” said Kelowna's deputy chief of Emergency Management, Sandra Follack.

Depending on their needs, evacuees were placed in hotels or overnight shelters based on capacity limits.

“They are staying in a number of different places depending on what their needs are, most are in hotels, and others are staying with friends,” Follack said.

She said the city expected the number of evacuees that arrived, with around 7,000 people identified who needed accommodation when Merritt and the surrounding area was evacuated.

“Immediately Kamloops and Kelowna were available. The majority of people went to Kamloops initially, then some started to get funnelled over to Salmon Arm, then they came our way,” Follack said.

Follack estimated Kelowna received about a third of evacuees, as many stopped in Kamloops.

“It depended on which way they drove out, and on where they were when they were evacuated, because we didn’t just take Merritt, we took people from the outer areas of Merritt who were also impacted,” Follack said. “It wasn’t a choice of go to one centre first, and if they are full go to the next, it was which one would support you better, they are both open and both do the same thing."

The city didn’t experience any issues in finding shelter for evacuees, as hotels were easily able to accommodate people coming through.

“We ran into food shortages. Any kind of emergency when there are evacuations, the province supports everybody for a minimum of 72 hours with food, clothing and shelter,” Follack said.

Follack commends the work done by over 100 volunteers who have stepped up in the community to support others in a time of need.

“The volunteers have been making an amazing effort to make sure everybody is well taken care of. We have shown that we’re here to support,” she said.

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