Alberta ready to offer support to B.C. following major flooding disaster

CALGARY –

The province’s transportation minister says Alberta is ready to offer support to flood ravaged British Columbia.

Rajan Sawhney tweeted Tuesday night that she spoke with BC Transportation Minister Rob Fleming to understand better the scope and magnitude from the fallout of the storm that caused severe flooding, and the evacuation of thousands of people from communities in the interior and Fraser Valley regions. 

More than 180 people were rescued Tuesday night by air or by water from Abbotsford after being trapped in the city that has been placed under an evacuation order. 

Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Nathan Cooper says the province’s thoughts are with B.C. 

“We have experienced fires and floods in the past. It is never a good time,” said Cooper.  “I know that members of this house have reached out to our colleagues in British Columbia to express our thoughts, condolences prayers and any other assistance that can be provided.” 

Calgary city council has also asked for direction on how it can help impacted municipalities and the province of B.C. 

“As of yet, there has not been an official request for any assistance from the province of British Columbia,” said Coby Duerr, Calgary Emergency Management Agency assistant chief.

Calgary houses the Canada Task Force Two, a municipal entity that is supported by all levels of government, comprised of 140 members trained in search and rescue, medical response, logistics and incident management. 

Duerr says the city has that team at the ready and it could be deployed within four to six hours if called upon. 

“They’ve updated their status, to on call status,” Duerr told council. “We have done preliminary work and a lot of prep work ready for this, if there was a request to come through.”

Canada Task Force Two has responded to the 2011 Slave Lake wildfires, 2013 Calgary and High River floods along with the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires. Most recently it responded to flooding this year in Whitehorse, Yukon. 

Duerr also warns any Calgarians that have family, friends or property in B.C. not to make their way west. 

“If they don’t need to be there right now, this is not the time to go,” he said.

“There will be a time when the B.C. government allows those individuals into those (areas) especially those areas that have been evacuated. It’s extremely important to stay away from those areas.”

As for the province, there is no word on what the support commitment may look like in terms of resource offerings or financial aid.

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