Thousands evacuated due to flooding in western Canada

Posted today at 11:59 a.m., updated at 1:20 p.m.

Torrential rains, landslides and flooding that have hit British Columbia in western Canada in recent days have left at least one dead and thousands of evacuees, local authorities said Tuesday (November 16th). . “The total number of people and vehicles missing has not been confirmed”, they added.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the federal police, said in a statement:

“Woman’s body was found in a landslide that occurred on Highway 99, near Lillooet [à 250 kilomètres par la route au nord de Vancouver] Monday morning, and research continues today. “

In a neighborhood of Merritt, British Columbia, November 16, 2021. Monday, the approximately 7,000 residents of the city, located 300 kilometers by road northeast of Vancouver, were evacuated.

“We expect this evacuation order to remain in place for probably more than a week., explained the municipality of Merritt in a statement on Tuesday. Floods continue to cause dangerous situations and significant damage. “ “All rail services to and from the Port of Vancouver” were interrupted, said Matti Polychronis, a spokesperson for the port authority.

Properties flooded due to flooding in Abbotsford, British Columbia on November 16, 2021.
A woman and children stranded by flooding are rescued by boat by a volunteer in Abbotsford, British Columbia on November 16, 2021.

The rain had stopped but many roads remained closed and towns were still flooded after the Fraser Valley reported up to 250 millimeters of precipitation on Monday, according to images broadcast by Canadian television.

A man and a child were rescued from a boat by a volunteer in Abbotsford, British Columbia on November 16, 2021.

“To Hope [à une centaine de kilomètres à l’est de Vancouver], we saw 174 mm in twenty-four hours on Sunday and 250 mm over forty-eight hours, unheard of in this station in all of its history ”, underlined Armel Castellan, meteorologist at the Canadian environment ministry. Some places received roughly 95% of their monthly rainfall in twenty-four hours, according to this expert.

Cows that were stranded in a flooded barn were rescued in Abbotsford, British Columbia on November 16, 2021.

“I have no doubt that these events are linked to climate change, they are unprecedented by nature”, said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety for British Columbia, a few months after numerous forest fires ravaged the province.

South Parallel Road is submerged in flood water in Abbotsford, British Columbia on November 16, 2021.
Read also Western Canada in state of emergency due to escalating fires

Many districts were also evacuated, including 1,100 people in areas of Abbotsford, a few tens of kilometers east of Vancouver. “It breaks my heart to see what is happening to our city”, regretted Henry Braun, the mayor of this town of about 150,000 inhabitants located on the Canada-US border. The city council explained that the floods were mainly due to the flooding of the Nooksack River in the United States. “It is the worst I have seen since I immigrated here in September 1953”, he lamented during a press briefing.

Crew members of the 442nd Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force evacuate motorists stranded by mudslides in Agassiz, British Columbia on November 15, 2021.
In a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter, rescuing motorists stranded by mudslides, in Agassiz, British Columbia on November 15, 2021.
Read also July floods in Germany and Belgium are well linked to global warming

About 9,000 people were still without power, according to an update from BC Hydro. “We are very concerned about the situation in British Columbia”Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday. “We are going to be there with all the resources that British Columbia could need”, he added.

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