Queen sends message of support to residents stranded by floods in BC

At least four fatalities connected to huge floods

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 23 November 2021 01:01

Related video: Residents step up to help each other after B.C. floods

Queen Elizabeth has issued a statement of support to the people of British Columbia who have suffered as a result of massive flooding in the province.

"My thoughts are with the people of British Columbia as you continue to confront the recent catastrophic flooding and gradually begin the process of recover and rebuilding. I am grateful for the tireless work of the many first responders and volunteers who continue to provide comfort and support to their fellow Canadians during this difficult time," the statement said.

At least four people have died in the flooding, and thousands more are stranded as the rescue and recovery efforts in the province continue.

The historic flood rushed through the region last week, washing away roads and destroying homes.

Several sections of Highway 1, which constitutes the main portion of the Trans-Canada Highway in BC, were closed due to washouts. Officials have not provided a timeline for the route's reopening.

An estimated 18,000 people were initially stranded, according to The Guardian.

The worst of the flooding occurred near the US-Canadian border, where some towns saw nearly a foot of rainfall. Other areas saw 6 to 8 inches (150-200mm) of rain throughout the flooding. Vancouver was not spared, recording five inches (125mm) of rainfall in the city.

Mike Farnworth, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General declared a provincial state of emergency. According to a press release from the department, the state of emergency was intended to "mitigate impacts on transportation networks and the movement of essential goods", as well as support response efforts.

Rob Fleming, British Columbia's minister of transportation and infrastructure, released a statement saying that officials were working to reopen supply lines.

“Our focus is on clearing, repairing and reopening roads to connect the Interior and the North to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, to get our supply chains moving,” he said.

Even a week later, the flood waters have not receded in some areas.

The flooding also triggered mudslides in some areas. One mudslide near Lilooet, British Columbia, buried seven cars. The body of a woman was pulled out of the debris.

David MacKenzie, the Pemberton District Search and Rescue manager, told The Associated Press that his team had never dealt with an event of such magnitude.

“It is a significant amount of debris. It makes it very difficult for our search crews. The mud is up to their waist. I can’t recall our team being involved in anything like this in the past,” he said.

Officials in British Columbia said they expected to uncover more bodies in the days to come as search and recovery operations continue.

Canadian armed forces have been deployed to assist in the recovery operations.

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