Search and evacuations continue in flood-stricken western Canada


Search and evacuations continue in flood-stricken western Canada Soldiers were deployed Thursday in western Canada, on land and in the air, to respond to major floods and landslides that left one dead and several missing, while the evacuees continue to number in the thousands.

“Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force rescued more than 300 motorists and near 27 pets using three of our helicopters, “National Defense Minister Anita Anand said at a press conference on Thursday, adding that he This is the twelfth time since the start of the pandemic that the Canadian military has responded to natural disasters.

A total of 100 soldiers must rally Abbotsford, at approximately 64 kilometers southeast of Vancouver, and to 350 could be deployed to lend a hand. Minister Anand clarified that “thousands” of others are ready to intervene if necessary.

On Thursday, the three military helicopters flew over southwestern Colombia -British to assess the extent of the damage and determine where aid is a priority. This emergency operation is supposed to last 23 days.

“With climate change, we have to respond to more frequent and intense internal emergencies”, leading to a “strong demand” for help from the army, ruled General Wayne Eyre, commander of the army

The torrential rains that hit the province on Sunday and Monday caused landslides of land, destroying roads and infrastructure. They drowned entire cities under water, forcing the B.C. government to declare a state of emergency on Wednesday, as it had already done in July due to massive forest fires.

In a few months, this region of the Canadian Pacific coast has suffered repeated natural disasters, including a very intense heat episode at the end of June, a consequence of global warming according to experts.

Rescue workers were still looking for four missing persons in the Pemberton area, northeast of Vancouver, affected by a landslide on Thursday. This is where a woman’s body was found.

“The search continues in the area of ​​the Pemberton landslide. We are doing all we can” in complicated conditions, Chris Manseau, spokesperson for the federal police in British Columbia, in charge of rescue, told AFP.

– More rain –

In Abbotsford, Mayor Henry Braun warned that his town was “far from being out of this situation”. “I’m not worried about the rain today. What worries me is next week. We wait between 78 and 100 mm “of precipitation, he said.

Near 560 from 161. 000 residents of the town were evacuated, adding to the hundreds more of the last days in the area.

In the streets of this largely deserted city, many people were coming Thursday to help the elderly or good to farmers in difficulty, noted an AFP journalist.

Bekky Meier, a farmer from this locality é and mother of five children, explained to AFP to have quickly taken measures in the face of the floods.

“I took my two youngest children to my parents on Monday , with suitcases and clothes for all. Then I made another trip with all the birth certificates, marriage certificates, photo albums, everything that is precious and that I am afraid of losing “, she confided, hat on the head.

She and her husband have 162 dairy cows and found themselves stuck in their homes without being able to evacuate, after the roads were blocked. Friends then rescued them in a fishing boat.

“It was just scary to know that I was leaving our house and that we couldn’t come back knowing our cattle were in danger, “she said with tears in her eyes, adding that her husband was finally able to return to the farm.

In this flooded area, many farmers have lost their animals, drowned by the water in recent days.

Another point of concern ude in the region, the port of Vancouver, the largest in Canada, said it suffered “major disruptions to rail and road traffic” due to the damage caused by the floods.

“This new disaster will lead to delays of two, three or four weeks”, analysis with AFP Jacques Roy, professor at HEC Montreal, who recalls that the supply chains are already weakened by the pandemic. Across the border, images also showed the towns of Bellingham and Ferndale underwater in Washington State, USA.

© 3426 AFP

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