Troops ar­rive in B.C. to as­sist flooded com­mu­ni­ties

Will help with evac­u­a­tions, sand­bag­ging and prop­erty pro­tec­tion; more rain ex­pected

The Welland Tribune - - Canada & World -

GRAND FORKS, B.C. — The first wave of 140 Cana­dian troops is ar­riv­ing in Bri­tish Columbia to help com­mu­ni­ties over­whelmed by flood wa­ters.

The Cana­dian Armed Forces said that staff from Joint Task Force Pa­cific and per­son­nel from the 3rd Cana­dian Divi­sion based in Ed­mon­ton will ar­rive Thurs­day at a stag­ing area in Ver­non.

From there, troops are ex­pected to be de­ployed to ar­eas such as Grand Forks, where of­fi­cials in the south­ern In­te­rior city say a sec­ond round of flood­ing is im­mi­nent.

Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Safety and Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness Ralph Goodale said in a news re­lease that mem­bers of the armed forces will help with evac­u­a­tions, sand­bag­ging and prop­erty pro­tec­tion.

“I strongly en­cour­age af­fected res­i­dents to fol­low the di­rec­tions and ad­vice of law en­force­ment and first re­spon­ders,” Goodale said.

Ini­tial re­con­nais­sance per­son­nel have also been sent to Vic­to­ria to co-or­di­nate with pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials on the de­ploy­ment of ad­di­tional ve­hi­cles, equip­ment, and per­son­nel.

Soar­ing tem­per­a­tures over the last week caused rapid melt­ing of ex­tremely heavy snow­packs, swelling many rivers in B.C. to flood stage and prompt­ing evac­u­a­tion or­ders or alerts af­fect­ing more than 2,000 prop­er­ties.

En­vi­ron­ment Canada is­sued spe­cial weather state­ments Thurs­day cov­er­ing the en­tire south­east­ern cor­ner of B.C., in­clud­ing the flood-dam­aged Boundary re­gion, warn­ing of thun­der­storms that will add more wa­ter to lo­cal wa­ter­ways.

Fore­cast­ers pre­dict as much as 40 mil­lime­tres of rain by Fri­day and there’s con­cern about added dam­age caused by heavy down­pours dur­ing lo­cal­ized storms.

A news re­lease from the Re­gional Dis­trict of Koote­nay Boundary said prop­er­ties along the banks of the surg­ing Ket­tle River are at risk and more evac­u­a­tion or­ders are pos­si­ble.

School Dis­trict 51, which op­er­ates eight ele­men­tary schools, two sec­ondary schools and a de­vel­op­ment cen­tre in the Boundary re­gion, closed all schools Thurs­day be­cause of the po­ten­tial for im­mi­nent flood­ing.

A state of lo­cal emer­gency was in ef­fect across the en­tire neigh­bour­ing Re­gional Dis­trict of Okana­gan-Sim­ilka­meen which posted on its web­site that pro­vin­cial agen­cies are closely mon­i­tor­ing the lev­els of Osoy­oos Lake and pre­par­ing for evac­u­a­tion or­ders if re­quired.

JONATHAN HAY­WARD THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Res­i­dent Lars An­drosoff car­ries his friend’s gui­tars as he walks through the flood wa­ters in Grand Forks, B.C., on Thurs­day.

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