Short-term financial aid is coming to all B.C. residents whose homes have been put on evacuation order, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said during a storm update Tuesday (Nov. 23).
The aid will come as a partnership between the province and the Canadian Red Cross, the latter of which will distribute the funds. The program will provide $2,000 per household that has had to evacuate from its primary residence due to flooding between Nov. 14-16. Farnworth encouraged British Columbians to donate to flood relief efforts through organizations like the United Way, food banks, the Canadian Red Cross and at BC Liquor Stores.
To access the funds, evacuees are asked to call 1-800-863-6582 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. PT.
There have been about 6,500 people registered as evacuees, the public safety minister said, with 1,400 of them staying with British Columbians who have offered up their homes. The rest are in commercial and group lodging.
The minister said that the Canadian Armed Forces are helping with both ground and air efforts. Of those troops, 120 are in Abbotsford, working alongside contractors to repair damaged infrastructure.
More than 200,000 sandbags have already been deployed, 45,000 of them at the Barrowtown pump station, and four million more are ready to go.
Farnworth said that even as crews are fixing the damage done to flooded highways and railway tracks, the province is expecting more rain.
“The next nine to 10 days could be quite challenging,” Farnworth said, adding that federal forecasts showed “a series of storms” on the way.
Transportation Minister Fleming also announced that Highway 7 between Murray Street Road Mission and Highway 1 in Agassiz will be closed to non-essential traffic as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.
A road link does connect essential traffic to the Okanagan via Highway 7 and Highway 3, between Hope and Merritt. CP Rail, Fleming confirmed, is expected to begin shipping cargo 24-hours-a-day starting Tuesday, while CN Rail hopes to come online again on Wednesday.