Hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces members are heading to inland British Columbia to help evacuate and respond to extreme flooding.
Defense Secretary Anita Anand said on Thursday there are 350 CAF personnel ready to be deployed from Edmonton to the hardest hit areas in southern BC.
By the end of the day, Anand said, 120 troops – IRU Vanguard Company out of Edmonton – will be at Abbotsford.
The remainder of the immediate response unit, which includes 240 troops in Edmonton, will move to BC when overland access is determined in consultation with local authorities.
“If needed, we have thousands of additional members on standby, and military support can be both air and ground support,” she said.
BC flooding: Feds develop plan to help province amid catastrophic flood damage
General Wayne D. Eyre, acting Chief of Defense Staff, said the exact roles of the 240 members Edmonton conveyed were still being determined.
“Those details will be worked out by the scouting team,” he said, adding that they will bring the truck and any additional capabilities the scouting team determines is necessary.
In the 48 hours before CAF requested assistance, the Royal Canadian Armed Forces rescued more than 300 stranded motorists using Cormorant helicopters from CFB Comox, Anand said.
On Wednesday night, a military reconnaissance team was deployed with provincial officials to assess the damage and immediate needs.
There is a Griffon helicopter and a Cyclone helicopter providing air support. Two Chinook helicopters will head to the area from Petawawa when weather conditions permit, the federal government said Thursday afternoon.
Government officials say the current focus is on rescue and recovery.
BC floods: State of emergency declared three days after catastrophic flooding
BC Premier John Horgan declared a state of emergency on Wednesday after flooding devastated the southern part of the province.
Drifts and landslides have blocked rail access to the Port of Vancouver, Canada’s largest maritime hub, which handles $240 billion in annual cargo trade. Torrential rains have also cut off major shipping routes between BC’s Lower Mainland and the Inland.
Anand said the military received a request for assistance this week.
This is the 12th request for assistance CAF has responded to natural disasters since the beginning of the pandemic, she said. Additionally, the military responded to 71 COVID-related requests for assistance.
“For the next 30 days and longer if needed, the Canadian Armed Forces will be there to help the people of BC through this crisis,” Anand said.
That assistance will include evacuations, assistance, supporting critical supply chains, flood impact assessment, planning relief efforts, and protecting critical infrastructure such as roads and asset.
BC flooding: Hundreds displaced as Abbotsford declares local emergency
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8384250/bc-flood-emergency-military-edmonton-soldiers/ BC flood: 350 troops ‘ready to be deployed’ from Edmonton