Wed. May 25th, 2022

Highways leading out of the city are not expected to open at night, increasing the stress that the influx of people has had in the city.

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More than 1,200 people have been trapped in Hope after all roads out of town were washed away by unprecedented rainfall and mudslides.

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Peter Robb said he has not seen anything like it in his years as mayor of the 6,200-inhabitant city, which has set up temporary shelters in a church and high school for stranded motorists and brought them water, essential medicine and food.

“It’s been a significant burden on society,” Robb said. “One person was taken by air to Chilliwack Hospital from their injuries.

“Monday night we had a shortage of beds and some people had to sleep on the floor. (Tuesday night) will be a bit more comfortable now that the province is providing 1,000 cribs and blankets in the afternoon.”

Highways leading out of the city are not expected to open at night, increasing the stress that the influx of people has had.

Many of Hope’s rental homes are booked. Camp Hope, which had a total of 36 vacant rooms and was running out of generator power, opened its doors to 250 people stranded by mudslides after seeing vehicles lined up along Highway 7 Monday morning.

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Director Bill Gerber said the camp cabin was filled right away and that volunteers have resorted to “putting people in the auditorium to sleep.”

The Shxw’ōwhámel First Nation Reserve has also provided shelter and fed people in need.

The storm has also spotted power and mobile service in the area, Robb said. People who buy groceries have to pay with cash. The mayor’s next concern is that the city could run out of food or fuel if the highways remain blocked for a few more days.

“It’s apocalyptic here,” said Burnaby’s Yasmin Andricevic, who was welcomed into a stranger’s home Sunday night after spending hours on a rain-hammered Highway 7 with her husband and two young children.

“There are a number to get into the grocery store. We do not know if we will get enough food to give our children dinner tonight,” the mother said.

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Andricevic has started calling helicopter companies and is trying to book a charter flight out of the inland area with his five- and seven-year-olds.

“My kids keep telling me they want to go home,” the mother shouted. “It is not knowing when we are coming out that makes me emotional and scared.”

Darren Berry, maintenance manager at Hope-based Valley Helicopters, said the company has received dozens of calls from families seeking a way out.

“We have decided to give priority to assisting authorities in rescuing motorists in remote areas. Our helicopters are all booked, ”he said.

Andricevic and others, including Abbotsford’s mother Angel Claypool, are frustrated by the lack of emergency updates from the government. Both families say they have resorted to finding important emergency information and updates on social media.

“All routes out of Hope remain impassable. We understand how challenging this situation is for everyone involved,” the provincial Drive BC agency tweeted Tuesday morning. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and strength. Crews work hard to reopen routes safely.”

sgrochowski@postmedia.com

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