One died in mudslides that cut off Vancouver from the rest of Canada

OTTAWA: Police said Tuesday that at least one person has died in heavy rains that left motorists trapped in mudslides, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes and cut off Vancouver from the rest of Canada.
The Royal Canadian Equestrian Police said search and rescue teams found the woman’s body in a mudslide near Lillooet, 250 miles north of Vancouver.
Staff Sergeant Janelle Shoihet added that investigators have received reports of two missing persons, but they believe “there may have been other occupied vehicles on the slide.”
“The total number of people and vehicles left on the ceiling has not been confirmed,” he said.
The rains had subsided late Tuesday afternoon. But mudslides, rocks and debris washed away several highways leading to Vancouver and trapped hundreds of motorists who were rescued by military helicopters on Monday night.
Local television showed video footage of the Trans Canadian highway connecting the coastal city to the rest of the country. The bridge was also washed away.
Other routes have also been closed, according to Drive BC, which said on Twitter: “The engines are closed for the time being.”
As a result, motorists wishing to travel to or from Vancouver would have to travel south to the United States and back to Canada.
However, anyone who travels this detour must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test upon return to Canada.
The landslides would also cut rail traffic to and from Vancouver – one of Canada’s busiest cargo ports. “Both CN and CP Rail show that rail traffic is currently unable to run between Kamloops and Vancouver,” a port spokesman told AFP.
In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government was “closely following” the evolving situation in British Columbia.
He was scheduled to talk to provincial prime minister John Horgan later in the day to see what federal help might be needed.
“We are there to help in any way, shape or form,” he told reporters.
Record rainfall
Environment Canada said as much as 250 millimeters (almost 10 inches) of rain – which usually comes in the area every month – rained on and around Vancouver on Sunday and Monday, which was also hit by a rare tornado last week.
Extreme weather conditions came after British Columbia suffered from record high temperatures in the summer, killing more than 500 people and wildfires that destroyed the city.
On Tuesday, thousands of British Colombians were unable to return to their homes due to the evacuation regulations still in place due to floods in a dozen communities – including all of Merritt and parts of Abbotsford – and as many as 9,000 homes were without electricity.
In Merritt, floods threatened the sewage treatment plant, while thousands in Abbotsford slept in their cars on a high road overnight when Fraser Valley farms were submerged.
Others resorted to emergency centers across the province, and some also slept in church benches or schools, local media reported.
“Everyone has had a great sense of humor,” Andrew Clark, a musician who is stuck with thousands of other tourists in Hope, 150 miles east of Vancouver, told CBC.
“Everyone knows we’re in the same boat, so all is well, but I think it’s kind of a general disappointment when we don’t find out more about what’s going on along the way,” he said.
“People are a little worried about how many nights we might stay here.”


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