Now that the rains have stopped, B.C. residents taking stock of the damage


Despite the fact that the rain has stopped coming down in the lower mainland of British Columbia, several parts of the region remain underwater and B.C. residents are seeing what the damage truly is.

The Fraser Valley was hit by three atmospheric rivers over the last week.  In the month of November 550 millimetres of rain fell over the Lower Sumas community, flooding land and infrastructures.

Now the province and residents of several communities are struggling to take stock of what is being called the most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history.

Due to flooding multiple highway and service roads were closed. Photo: Simon Charland/APTN.

Government officials are hopeful the rebuild can begin soon – and supply chains will be restored.

“From repairing roadways this has been a remarkable effort from thousands and thousands of people to finding creative ways to move products has been truly a remarkable effort by thousands and thousands of people it has involved the unprecedented coordination between Indigenous First Nations governments to federal and provincial governments and local governments,” said Rob Fleming, minister of Transportation in B.C.

“Hundreds of companies have been involved as well as labour groups. Everyone has puuled together for the common good and it has been very special to witness this happen.”

Farmlands turned to lakes, causing uncertainty about next year’s crops. Photo: Simon Charland/APTN.

At Matsqui First Nation, five homes had some water damage – but no supplies were getting in or out meaning store shelves are empty.

“They have sent us, I guess over the weekend, they had vans coming in here just loaded down with things food, all kinds of necessities,” said Chief Alice McKay. “You know it was so amazing to see that in this world today that people can be so helpful and so kind because a lot of this came from the Sikh Temple and the Surrey Food Bank.”

A baseball diamond sits underwater outside Abbotsford, B.C. Photo: Simon Charland/APTN.

Even though the rain has stopped, the danger from mudslides have closed many of the major highways around the Fraser Valley.

Because of those closures, the side roads are the only way to travel – including big trucks.

On Thursday, a semi-truck carrying liquid tar tipped leaking some of its contents down an embankment and into a local river that runs to the Fraser River – the largest salmon bearing river in the world.

A semi-truck sits on its side leaking tar down an embankment. Photo: Tina House/APTN.

Officials are on the scene trying to contain the spill and have closed traffic.

“I would say slow down and just drive defensively,” says McKay.

 

Video Journalist / Vancouver

A proud Métis from BC, Tina began her television career in 1997 as a talent agent for film and TV. She joined APTN National News in 2007 as a Video Journalist in the Vancouver bureau. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Amnesty International Human Rights Journalism Award for her story on murdered and missing women and girls.