the essential Canada has been hit by record bad weather. British Columbia declared a state of emergency and thousands of people had to be evacuated. The army was deployed on the streets of Vancouver.
ud 70 c udde8 ud 83 c udde6 Canada | ud 83 c udf 27 ufe0f Aerial view of the extent of flooding in #Abbotsford on Tuesday with a freeway completely under water, town located east of Vancouver
( ud 83 d udcf9 Harpreet Pandher) pic.twitter.com/wX0wNnyolM
– Alexandre (@alex_le_bars) November 14, 2021
Four people are also missing in landslides, police said during the press briefing. “Unfortunately, we expect to confirm even more deaths in the next few days,” regretted John Horgan.
Rail service disruption
After this summer’s deadly heatwave in the region, John Horgan warned that “these events are increasing in regularity due to the effects of human-induced climate change.” The state of emergency aims to restore as quickly as possible access to highways, which have been closed for several days, disrupting supply chains. This inclement weather also led to the disruption of rail services to the Port of Vancouver.
Travel is not recommended in order to prioritize the delivery of essential goods and medical and emergency services. This measure is in effect for 14 days and may be prolonged. Earlier today, the Canadian government announced the deployment of “Canadian Forces air support to assist with evacuation efforts, support supply routes and protect residents from floods and landslides.”
“Hundreds of members of the Canadian armed forces are on their way to help,” said the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, specifying that thousands of soldiers could be sent.
Justin Trudeau, traveling to Washington, also pledged that the government “would be there for the cleanup and reconstruction” after these “extreme weather events”. Entire streets are underwater in many cities after the Fraser Valley east of Vancouver counted up to 250 mm of precipitation on Monday. Some places received approximately 95% of their monthly precipitation in 24 time. “The next steps may require extraordinary measures only permitted under the state of emergency,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety. “It’s a catastrophic event,” he lamented.
Hundreds of farmers affected
This exceptional measure was previously taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic. And this summer, when forest fires ravaged the province, which was suffocating under a historic heat wave. The village of Lytton, at 162 kilometers northeast of Vancouver, had been destroyed at 90% at the end of June by a fire in the middle of an extreme heat wave after having reached 49, 6 degrees.
Prime Minister John Horgan highlighted “unprecedented challenges in public health, wildfires, heat domes and now never-before-seen flooding.” Like Tuesday, the weather was milder on Wednesday, with no rain. But the floods particularly affected hundreds of farmers in the region, authorities said. “Some are still inundated, others are sheltered and we have thousands of animals that have perished,” lamented Lana Popham, the provincial Minister of Agriculture.
Images showed a man on a jetski pulling a cow with a rope to rescue her despite the high water level, or a farmer evacuating a goat from a flooded barn. Earlier this week, Ottawa had already sent helicopters to rescue approximately 286 motorists stranded by landslides. Abbotsford, about 49 kilometers southeast of Vancouver, urged on Tuesday evening part of his 162 residents to be evacuated immediately due to the potential failure of a pumping station. The day before, the 7 or so inhabitants of town of Merritt, 286 km northeast of Vancouver, were also evacuated.