The B.C. government declared a provincial state of emergency to mitigate the impacts of widespread flooding on transportation networks and support the province-wide recovery from damage caused by flooding and landslides.
Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, made the declaration today (Nov. 17) based on a recommendation from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Emergency Management BC.
“This province-wide declaration will help us with the challenges ahead as we recover from the utter devastation that’s been caused by this natural disaster,” said Farnworth. “Getting our rail and roadways back up and in operation is a top priority and the declaration will enable us to put the resources in place to make that happen.”
The state of emergency will be in effect for 14 days and may be extended or rescinded as necessary, according to the province. It applies to the whole province and ensures federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a co-ordinated response.
“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. “We are working closely with multiple partners to make this happen.”
The province said about 17,775 people have been evacuated due to impacts from the flooding, with 5,918 properties on evacuation order and 3,632 properties on evacuation alert.
The federal government has accepted B.C.’s requests for assistance. In the coming days, additional federal personnel and resources will arrive in B.C. to assist, according to the province.
The state of emergency gives agencies, such as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Emergency Management BC, the RCMP and others the ability to use extraordinary measures to protect people and communities.