B.C. declared state of emergency after severe flooding

Authorities on the B.C. coast declared a state of emergency on Wednesday after torrential rain deluged several communities, setting off mudslides that destroyed homes, swamped streets and blocked many highways. “We have devastated areas,…

B.C. declared state of emergency after severe flooding

Authorities on the B.C. coast declared a state of emergency on Wednesday after torrential rain deluged several communities, setting off mudslides that destroyed homes, swamped streets and blocked many highways.

“We have devastated areas, where people just walked away from the house,” Emergency Management B.C.’s assistant chief emergency manager, Jordan Sinclair, told reporters on a conference call.

The regional district ordered residents to be evacuated in the popular cruise ship port of Bella Bella, where waves had flooded homes and streets as well as washed out hundreds of miles of logging roads.

The situation was different in the coastal town of Haida Gwaii, where home restoration efforts were getting underway after only minimal damage to homes.

A dam in the nearby community of Curtis Bay burst, sending up to 10 metres (33ft) of water spilling into the Osoyoos River, spilling over bridges, flooding thousands of hectares of crops and swamping highways, Mayor Mary Jane Austin said by phone.

“The community is very small and we’re all there together,” she said. “I’m happy that no one has been injured or there’s been no loss of life.”

Flooding did not kill any people or damage significant infrastructure. A coastal landslide in Bella Coola, southwest of Haida Gwaii, injured one person and knocked out power, according to authorities.

The logging road through Mount Baker and the municipal road through Pez Point and Biggers were impassable on Wednesday, B.C. Hydro officials said.

Authorities forecast light rain overnight, which they say could trigger more mudslides.

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