City of Chilliwack declares state of emergency due to flooding in Fraser Valley

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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CHILLIWACK, B.C. - The B.C. city of Chilliwack has declared a state of emergency due to flooding and mudslides.
The south coast of the province has seen heavy rain on the heels of near-record amounts of snow, swelling rivers and threatening avalanches and mudslides.
About 75 Chilliwack homes have been evacuated.
Other homes and roads have been hit by at least a dozen mudslides over the past 24 hours, cutting off one entire subdivision in the Fraser Valley community.
Heather Sye woke up Thursday to find mud pouring into her bedroom.
"I was choking on mud. I couldn't breathe. I was literally drowning in the mud," Sye told CTV.
"There was propane leaking everywhere so we had to get out."
Eric Petersen said houses along his street have been hit hard but so far his home has dodged a bullet.
"There's a couple of houses down the road, they're lakes," Petersen said.
"Cross my fingers and hope, but I think we're all right."
B.C. public safety minister John van Dongen said the province supports Chilliwack's declaration of a state of emergency, and the city can expect help from provincial emergency officials.
He said the state of emergency declaration gives Chilliwack additional authority and powers to possibly evacuate homes and get co-operation from property owners.
"The provincial emergency people will work with them to deal with the recovery, to assist people with getting the water levels down on their properties, and hopefully get people back into their homes as soon as possible," said van Dongen.
Earlier in the week the Vancouver Island community of Sooke was cut off by flooding on the highways linking the community to the rest of the island.
Van Dongen said the province has activated its disaster assistance program to help people and businesses who suffered damage due to floods.
"The relief measures cover eighty per cent of the cost to a maximum of $300,000, and (currently applies to) certain eligible areas, notably southwestern Vancouver Island, such as Sooke or Metchosin, Langford, and parts of the Fraser Valley. We're looking at Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and parts of the Fraser Valley regional district."
Southern B.C. was first covered with near record-setting snow and cold in December, followed by torrential rains so far in January that dropped more than 100 millimetres of rain in some areas.

Organizations: CTV

Geographic location: Chilliwack, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island Sooke Surrey Abbotsford Southern B.C.

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