As of 12 p.m. on Wednesday, November 17th, BC officially declared a state of emergency following the mass flooding across the province.
In a live press conference today, Premier Horgan declared the state of emergency following historic rainfall that forced thousands to flee their homes.
“Provincial, federal and local governments are working with emergency personnel to make sure people and communities get the help they need as they work through yet another natural disaster. This provincial declaration of emergency will ensure the transport of goods, and essential and emergency services.,” said Premier John Horgan.
Across the province, multiple highways have been closed by landslides leading to disruptions in travel.
Horgan urged people not to hoard items.
“What you need, your neighbours need as well. We’re confident we can restore our supply chains in a quick and orderly manner,” Horgan said.
The province-wide declaration will mean all provincial emergency measures can be implemented in order to help us recover.
The Armed Forces have been deployed to assist with hard hit areas, such as evacuations.
During the conference, BC’s Public Safety Minister, Mike Farnworth, urged residents to avoid travel across the province unless essential; the government said this will protect supply chains.
“Our infrastructure is crippled,” said Farnworth.
“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,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
BC Ferries announced they will be increasing sailings for cargo, as well as ramping up the Mill Bay – Brentwood Bay sailings in order to connect the mid-island with the rest of the island and province.
Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said that many farm animals are deceased and the government is working to support farmers and their animals who have been saved.
According to the province, there are approximately 17,775 people evacuated due to impacts from the flooding, with 5,918 properties on evacuation order, and 3,632 properties on evacuation alert.
To date, one fatality has been confirmed and more fatalities are expected.
The body of a woman from the Lower Mainland was recovered from a mudslide which occurred across Highway 99 near Lillooet.
Pemberton and Lillooet Search and Rescue personnel who were transported to the area via helicopter, located and extricated the body of a woman.
“The total number of people and vehicles unaccounted for has not been confirmed however investigators have received two missing people reports and believe there may have been other occupied vehicles that were lost in the slide,” said S/Sgt. Janelle Shoihet of the BC RCMP.
Police are asking anyone who was a witness to the event, or believes their loved one is missing and has not yet been able to make contact with them to contact the Pemberton or Lillooet RCMP detachments.
The state of emergency will be in effect for 14 days and may be extended.