A storm of the century hits Canada. The regional minister in British Columbia assumes a connection with climate change.
Vancouver – After days of heavy rainfall in British Columbia, mudslides have developed. In the province in western Canada, as much rain fell within 48 hours as it usually did in a month. The big city of Vancouver is completely cut off from the rest of the country. Hundreds of people driving into the city had to be brought to safety by military helicopters.
One person has already died, at least two more are missing. Search and rescue teams recovered the body of a woman near the town of Lillooet, 250 kilometers north of Vancouver, according to the federal police. Mud and water masses severely damaged several main roads in the area on Monday (November 15, 2021) and trapped numerous people in their vehicles.
Canada: Vancouver cut off – only accessible from the USA
Due to the floods, Vancouver can no longer be reached by land from Canada. The damaged roads as well as the main connecting roads were closed. The rail connection to the rest of the country was also out of order. Therefore, the Canadian west coast metropolis can only be reached from the south, coming from the USA.
Federal police officer Janelle Shoihet said there had been two missing person reports so far. However, there are fears that other people could have been washed away with their vehicles by a mudslide. “The total number of missing people and vehicles has not yet been determined.”
Vancouver City Council: Flood “continues to cause major threats and damage”
The authorities had ordered the evacuation of the community of Merritt, northeast of Vancouver, regarding the rains. Emergency shelters were set up for those affected. “We expect that this evacuation order will likely remain in place for more than a week,” said the city council. “The floods continue to cause great dangers and damage,” she said.
There was also severe flooding east of Vancouver, in the Fraser Valley region and along the border with the United States. Around 1,100 people in the border town of Abbotsford had to leave their homes. The power went out in around 9,000 households.
Minister sees climate change responsible: “I have no doubt”
“I have no doubt that these events are related to climate change,” said British Columbia Provincial Public Safety Secretary Mike Farnworth. In the summer, more than 500 people died in a record heatwave in the region. Devastating forest fires also destroyed entire regions.
Ottawa is ready to help “in any form,” said Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to journalists. His government is closely monitoring the situation in British Columbia. (Lukas Zigo / dpa)
List of rubric lists: © Jonathan Hayward / dpa