More Deaths Feared in Canada's British Columbia as It Declares State of Emergency Over Heavy Floods

© REUTERS / JASON GRAFSTROM via YOUTUBEThick plume of smoke rises from a fire at a vehicle lot amid flooding in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, November 17, 2021
Thick plume of smoke rises from a fire at a vehicle lot amid flooding in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, November 17, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.11.2021
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At least 17,775 people have already been evacuated from their homes in British Columbia as a result of the devastating floods in the Canadian province.
Local authorities have warned that the death toll will most likely increase in the western Canadian province of British Columbia, where a 14-day state of emergency was earlier declared over severe flooding and landslides in the area.
At least one person has already died and two more are missing as a result of the flooding.
More heavy rain is forecast in the province for later this week as several communities remain stranded and at least 17,775 have already been evacuated from the region due to the natural disaster.
Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, British Columbia, told reporters that although water levels in the nearby Fraser River were dropping, "we're not out of this yet".

"If we have another weather event like we just went through, we're in deep doo-doo", Braun added.

He spoke after British Columbia Premier John Horgan said that a state of emergency order took effect at 12:00 p.m. local time (20:00 GMT) on Wednesday, thanking "everyone for doing what you can to stay safe and to help one another as we work through this catastrophic time".
The premier stated that "there's not a person that hasn't been affected or will not be affected by the events of this past weekend" and that "these events are increasing in frequency due to human caused climate change".

Horgan insisted that British Columbia must "bring the seven billion other souls that live on this planet to understand that we need to act now […] to protect us from these types of events that will happen in the future".

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, for his part, noted that the state of emergency would help local authorities with "the challenges ahead as we recover from the utter devastation that's been caused by this natural disaster".
"Getting our rail and roadways back up and in operation is a top priority, and the declaration will enable us to put the resources in place to make that happen", Farnworth said.
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming, in turn, emphasised that their focus is on "clearing, repairing, and reopening roads to connect the Interior and the North to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, to get our supply chains moving".

"We are working closely with multiple partners to make this happen. It is a big job, but collectively we are up to the challenge and will get things opened up again just as soon as we possibly can", he said.

The statement came as University of British Columbia atmospheric scientist Rachel White told the BBC that the British Columbia flooding can likely be attributed to the impact of climate change.
"As we warm up the climate, heavy rainfall events such as these are going to get more intense. As we warm up the atmosphere, as we warm up the oceans - more water is evaporated from the oceans. So then when we have these atmospheric river events, essentially the atmosphere can carry more water towards our mountains", the scientist explained.
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