Written by By Matthew Murphy, CNN
Above: Members of the Gastown Business Improvement Association listen to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an announcement for disaster relief for British Columbia flooding victims. Credit: CHRIS BUSH/Chris Bush via AP
Rising waters caused by heavy rain have forced hundreds to flee their homes in British Columbia, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency and warn of possible catastrophic flooding.
The Emergency Social Services section of the provincial government said it had already received reports of almost 400 people needing evacuation orders for their homes. The conditions had forced hundreds of others to shelter in schools and evacuation centers.
According to several media reports, the vast majority of those affected in the western Canada province were residents of southeastern communities like Grand Forks, Surrey and Langley.
A three-day flood watch was issued Monday for Okanagan in British Columbia, with heavy rain and fast-moving water expected to become more widespread across the region on Tuesday.
The Canadian Red Cross said some communities could receive upwards of 40 centimeters (16 inches) of rain in a matter of days, adding that they were providing shelter and financial support to those affected.
A photo shows flooding in Interior B.C. Credit: Aaron Vincent Elkaim
On Sunday, British Columbia Premier John Horgan described the situation as “quite catastrophic” after video emerged of cars being carried away by flood waters in that part of the province.
“There are some serious threats in some areas and the flooding will be prolonged and dramatic,” he told reporters.
“We are going to stay behind. We are going to be here for the duration of this.”