British Columbia authorities in Canada have declared a state of emergency. It happened after several days of heavy rainfall, which caused extensive floods and mudslides. About 20,000 inhabitants were evacuated.
A state of emergency was introduced on Wednesday noon local time in British Columbia, a Canadian province. It will be valid for 14 days with the possibility of extension. Due to the intense rainfall that lasted last weekend, many towns in this province were evacuated.
Canadian media reported Wednesday evening that around 20,000 people have had to leave their homes so far. The ability to travel on motorways is impeded or interrupted.
Canada. Aid to British Columbia
As late as Tuesday, the police reported the discovery of the fatal victim of a landslide on one of the highways caused by heavy rains. The media also reported on other people with whom he has no contact. “Confirmation of more deaths is to be expected in the coming days,” British Columbia Prime Minister John Horgan said Wednesday. The federal government has already deployed military aviation to aid, and Defense Minister Anita Anand stressed on Wednesday that the provincial situation was now a military priority in the central and south-western regions of British Columbia hit hardest by the heavy rains. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is currently participating in the Canada-US-Mexico summit in Washington, pledged to help Ottawa and tweeted on Wednesday evening that, at his request, the minister responsible for emergency response Bill Blair convened a meeting of ministers from a special government group intervention, and the meeting identified the first necessary actions by the federal government.
Many of the flooded areas are farmland and, according to the provincial agriculture ministry, thousands of livestock have died in the floods in recent days. The British Columbia government has sent vets to help animals that cannot be evacuated, but some of them cannot be saved. Necessary assistance is currently being organized, including animal feed.
Agriculture Minister Lana Popham used the term “agricultural disaster” in a press conference on Wednesday and declared that farmers affected by the rainfall would receive financial assistance.
Problem with deliveries and transportation
Another problem British Columbia is facing now is the disruption of supply chains due to damage to roads and railways. The media reports cases of suppliers unable to ship West Coast by-products to factories that are located inland. It is difficult to get out of Vancouver on highways, and rail traffic from Vancouver Harbor was halted as early as Tuesday. Meanwhile, it is during this period that farmers in the western part of Canada transport the exported products. As emphasized by the specialists quoted in the media, one train carries as much cargo as 400 trucks, so damage to railway lines is an additional problem.
As reported in the media, problems with deliveries cause the shelves of food stores to become empty in some places.
– Don’t stack up supplies. Your neighbors need things just as much as you do, appealed the prime minister of the province on Wednesday.
Downpours. Pineapple Maker
The Federal Environment Department reported that over 100 liters of water per square meter dropped in the 48 hours between Saturday mornings and Monday in 24 areas of British Columbia. According to earlier media reports, in some places during this time there was as much rain as usual for a month at this time of the year.
Meteorologists explain that the cause of the downpour is a phenomenon called the pineapple espresso machine or the atmospheric river. It is a moisture-laden air current about 1.5 kilometers above the ground. It stretches from the waters of Hawaii (which it owes its name to – Hawaii is the main pineapple exporter) eastward, reaching the western part of the United States and Canada.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE / HANDOUT