Canada’s federal government pledged to help flood-hit British Columbia as the province faces more rain starting Monday.
Canadian armed forces will send more than 500 soldiers and 12 aircraft to aid in relief efforts over the next 30 days. There are thousands of troops on standby if required, Federal ministers Anita Anand (minister of national defense) and Bill Blair (minister for emergency preparedness), said at a Sunday press conference.
For those who are living at the border and wish to re-enter Canada, the Covid-19 testing requirement will not apply. This is for essential supplies, such as food or fuel.
The measures came as Vancouver, Canada’s third-largest city, and its surrounding areas are bracing for more rain a week after deadly floods left residents of Southwest British Columbia under fuel rationing and travel restrictions. Blair stated that the area of the province is expecting between 20 and 40 millimeters (11.2 to 1.5 inches) of rainfall Monday through Tuesday.
“There is possibility of that water making its way into the affected regions,” he said. “The ground is quite saturated and right now, there is nowhere for it to go.”
The so-called once-in-a-century storm washed away chunks of highways, closed the tracks of Canada’s two major railways and caused at least four deaths after a mudslide. The province — a major conduit to Asian markets and home to one of the busiest ports on the West Coast — is in a state of emergency after the deluge last week.
The infrastructure damage has cut the area off from the rest the country for several days. On Friday the province announced fuel rationing. The flooding has killed tens of thousands of farm animals and agricultural land has been “devastated,” Blair said.
After fuel limits of 30 liters (8.3 gallons) were set, cars have been queuing up to fill their tanks at stations along Vancouver’s coast. These restrictions will remain in effect for nine more days. A ban was also placed on non-essential travel along three main highways by the province. However, some routes connecting the coast to the interior will be gradually repaired and reopened.
Parts of the province’s fuel pumps were shutting down on Saturday due to panic buying. Residents saw their roads become blocked and had to turn off key oil and fuel infrastructure. Most filling stations in the capital of Victoria had fuel and power by Sunday after having “limited fuel options” on Saturday, according to GasBuddy, which tracks retail gasoline stations in the U.S. and Canada. Some fuel stations in the hard-hit Chilliwack region continued to be without fuel or had limited options.
—Marcy Nickson and Natalie Obiko Pearson assisted