Severe rainfall on November 13th, 14th and 15th caused mudslides and debris flow, resulting in the closure of many highways and roads in British Columbia’s interior and southern regions. The rainfall has broken dozens of all-time rainfall records, with some communities seeing nearly a month’s worth of rain over a 48 hour period. Entire regions of the Fraser Valley have been swamped by floodwater. Evacuation orders were issued for many communities including Merritt, Princeton and Abbotsford. As of November 17th, the province declared a state of emergency stating that the storm was the worst weather to hit the area “in a century“. Nearly 20,000 people have had to evacuate their homes and communities are facing intense shortages of basic items as stores are unable to restock due to disruptions in the supply chain.
RECORD BREAKING RAINFALL
NEARLY 20,000 PEOPLE DISPLACED
ROADS OUT ACROSS THE PROVINCE
GlobalMedic has been mobilizing to support residents affected by the flooding. As the evacuation orders are being lifted, residents are moving back into affected communities and will need assistance during this early recovery phase. Supply chains continue to be disrupted and we are focused on providing material aid to support households while they start to clean up and move forward from this disaster.
We activated GlobalMedic volunteers on the ground in BC to prepare to begin our response. At the same time, volunteers in Ontario worked to put together our first shipments of aid. We put together 407 Clean Up Kits which contain items like disinfectant, all purpose cleaners, garbage bags, rubber gloves and laundry supplies. The products for these kits are provided by our partners at Procter & Gamble. These kits were flown from Toronto to Vancouver by Air Canada and were received by volunteers. 214 kits were picked up and driven to Abbotsford where they are being distributed to residents beginning the clean up process in their homes. The remaining kits are being stored at an air hanger in Langley where they will be taken out to communities on boats and small aircraft. We will be building additional kits in the coming days to phase up this response.
In addition, we are also putting together hygiene kits and food hampers to provide to affected households. The hygiene kits will contain items like shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes. The food hampers will be comprised of non-perishable goods to help prevent at risk households from slipping into food insecurity.
We have also activated a laundry program. Starting in Abbotsford and Kamloops, we will be offering free wash and fold services to residents who have been displaced or who need that support upon moving back to their homes.
As the initial flood emergency resolves and people affected begin to return to their communities, homes and businesses, it will be crucial to ensure they are supported through the recovery phase. GlobalMedic is responding and will continue to look for gaps to make sure we are reaching those who are most vulnerable.