The latest news on mudslides and flooding in B.C. | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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The latest news on mudslides and flooding in B.C.

A boat speeds along a flooded highway 1 in Abbotsford, B.C., Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The latest news on mudslides and flooding in British Columbia (all times eastern):

11:57 p.m.

A late-night evacuation train carrying about 200 people stranded for days by British Columbia's mudslides and floods left Hope for Vancouver.

Jonathan Abecassis, a spokesman for Canadian National, says the emergency evacuation train was expected to arrive in Vancouver at about 10:30 p-m.

Most of the people on board the train had been in Hope, located about 150 kilometres east of Vancouver, since Sunday when disastrous floods and mudslides cut off some of the province's major highways.

Abecassis says the evacuation train is the result of efforts between Emergency Management B.C., Via Rail and C-N.

6:45 p.m.

The mayor of Merritt, B.C., has issued a statement to local residents updating them on the flood situation that forced the evacuation of their city.

Linda Brown says the disaster that flooded homes and knocked the water and wastewater treatment off line has forever changed the city and its residents.

She says Merritt still faces more pain, heartache and a mountain of hard work ahead, but the city will do everything to ensure the resources are available to meet the challenge.

Brown says the city is focused on first bringing home evacuated residents whose homes were not damaged by flood, while also working to bring home residents with damaged properties as soon as possible.

to 4:45 p.m.

BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau says the government's declaration of a state of emergency was a necessary but overdue step.

Furstenau says in a statement the call should have been made days ago, when the effects of torrential rainfall were becoming clear, to help residents prepare and change their travel plans.

While local communities have had to deal with the impact of the emergency, she says a disaster of this scale is clearly a provincewide emergency.

The government says its declaration of a state of emergency will support a provincewide response and recovery from the widespread damage caused by severe flooding and landslides in B.C.

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4:30 p.m.

British Columbia's agriculture minister says an "animal welfare issue" has emerged from the flooding that swamped the Fraser Valley where many dairy and poultry farms are located.

Lana Popham says thousands of animals have died and they're rushing to develop routes for veterinarians to get access to those animals that survived as quickly as possible.

Popham says some farmers tried to get their animals out, but had to walk away from them as the roads in the flooded waters disappeared beneath them.

She says even those animals that had been rescued are in rough shape.

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4 p.m.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan has declared a state of emergency after flooding and landslides devastated the southern part of the province.

Horgan says the declaration will preserve basic access to service and supplies for communities across the province.

He says the government will bring in travel restrictions to ensure that essential goods and medical and emergency services are able to reach the communities that need them.

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3:15 p.m.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is offering B.C. any support that his province can provide after devastating flooding and mudslides.

Kenney says he's had two conversations in the last few days with Premier John Horgan and says Alberta will respond in any way that is needed.

The premier says they want to be helpful, because this will affect Alberta's supply chain, when the problem was already acute before the weekend storm.

He says trucking and rail traffic that would normally take goods through B.C. will now have to go through the United States.

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1 p.m.

Defence Minister Anita Anand says Canadian Forces personnel will be ready to help B.C. residents affected by floods, landslides and extreme weather.

A Department of National Defence statement says planning and preparation are underway.

It says the department is examining how the Canadian Armed Forces could provide logistical and general support, including transportation assistance, supporting supply chains and humanitarian help.

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12:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is connecting with local authorities and the B.C. government to learn more about the ongoing situation and maintaining supply chain routes after major highways in and out of the province were severed.

Trudeau says he spoke with Premier John Horgan and a number of mayors last night about how people are doing in this "terrifically bad situation."

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11:50 a.m.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says he's feeling much better today about flooding conditions in his city after a dire situation overnight.

A key pumping station was in danger of being overwhelmed and it was the only thing holding back river waters from overrunning Sumas Prairie.

Crews sandbagged overnight around the Barrowtown Pump Station allowing it to continue operation.

An evacuation order was issued Tuesday for more than 1,000 properties on the prairie, but Fire Chief Darren Lee says they completed about 180 rescues into Wednesday morning, pulling trapped residents from their flooded properties.

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10:40 a.m.

Emergency officials in Abbotsford, B.C., are trying to put out a large fire at an RV dealership.

About 100 RVs parked tightly together are on fire and there are 40 firefighters battling the blaze.

Officials say the fire is under some high-voltage power lines, creating added danger.

Residents in the area are being told to keep their windows and doors closed.

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10:23 a.m.

Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the federal government is sending Canadian Forces personnel to help with evacuation efforts in B.C.

A social media message from Blair says a deployment has been approved.

The message says air personnel will also help to support supply chain routes, and protect residents against further flooding or landslides.

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9 a.m.

Officials in Abbotsford, B.C., will hold another news conference this morning as they urge all residents of the low-lying Sumas Prairie region to get out immediately.

The area, south of Abbotsford, was ordered evacuated Tuesday as high water from neighbouring Washington state pushed the Sumas River over its banks, but the urgency of the evacuation leaped overnight as those waters now threaten a vital pumping station.

Officials say the Barrowtown station keeps water out of what was once Sumas Lake but they say the lake will refill if the station stops pumping and that water from the nearby Fraser River will also begin gushing in.

Mayor Henry Braun says there is a significant risk to life and that everyone in the rural agricultural area must leave because "people's lives are more important right now than livestock and chickens."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2021.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2021
The Canadian Press

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