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Monday, November 29, 2021

Canada, British Columbia. Floods after huge downpours. Rescuers found more bodies, the number of victims is increasing

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Rescuers found the bodies of three people wanted after a landslide in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Thus, the number of victims increased to four. The region has experienced floods and mudslides as a result of heavy rainfall. Some stores ran out of food. Damage assessment is ongoing, and traffic on highways and railways is restored. To provide fuel for delivery vans and rescue vehicles, the authorities introduced gasoline limits.

They were found victims of a landslide on Highway 99 near Lilloet. The first of the missing persons was found on Monday. “Another deceased person was found on Wednesday, and the next two on Thursday. The search for the fifth missing person continued on Friday, but they did not bring results,” British Columbia’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe wrote on Saturday. Highway 99 is one of the main roads in southern British Columbia.

A landslide on the motorway also occurred on Highway 7 near Agassiz, where two landslides blocked some 50 cars on Sunday and 311 people were evacuated by helicopters on Monday.

Evacuation of 20,000 people, many animals drowned, food shortages in shops

Due to local flooding and floods, about 20,000 people had to leave their homes. Many livestock drowned – the areas of British Columbia damaged by downpours are largely agricultural areas with dairy farms. Tens of thousands of chickens drowned in poultry farms, public broadcaster CBC reported.

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The federal government sent an army to help. Road repairs are ongoing. On Saturday, British Columbia’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Rob Fleming, announced that traffic has been restored on three highways in the province. Vans can run on one of the highways, but for example, Highway 99, which opens on Saturday, is only allowed for light cars, and only essential traffic is allowed.

The damage has disrupted supply chains. Following reports that some localities had run out of food in stores, Provincial Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said on Saturday that there are now no longer interruptions to deliveries.

Some supermarkets in British Columbia are desertedReuters

Fuel limits

On Friday, the provincial government announced decisions to ration the gasoline until December 1. In the area of ​​the so-called Lower Mainland, i.e. the south-western part of the province, where approx. 60 percent of the population lives. residents of British Columbia, passenger car drivers can refuel up to 30 liters at a time. The decision of the regional authorities is aimed at providing fuel for delivery vehicles and those participating in rescue operations. The government also announced that anyone who tries to threaten gas station workers will be punished.

The authorities also promised financial assistance, and applications in this matter can be submitted from Thursday. Such support is available to persons whose insurance does not provide compensation in the event of a flood.

A state of emergency was introduced on Wednesday due to the catastrophic downpours. It will be valid for 14 days with the possibility of extension.

Pineapple coffeemaker and huge downpours

In some parts of British Columbia, there was as much rain as it usually falls in a month for two days. 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 Canada and The United States, which also in recent days has been struggling with heavy rainfall and, as a result, floods.

An analysis of what human activity might have contributed to the current disaster in the low-lying areas of the Lower Mainland, where the floods occurred in 1894 and 1948, began. CTV News indicated that part of the problem may be the American side, which allows excess water to flow to the Canadian side in the event of a flood in the Nooksack River in Washington, flooding, among others, the area around Abbotsford City. The media also recalled that the region lies on the site of the former Sumas Lake, which was drained a hundred years ago to accommodate settlers, and because the nearby Fraser River is higher up, settlers built a dike and pumping station to protect their pastures. The Indians living there were then forced to move to a reservation.

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