The City of Penticton’s Emergency Support Services (ESS) team has been busy since Monday supporting flooding evacuees around the region.
Penticton currently has evacuees from Thompson-Nicola Regional District, Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen, and the Lower Mainland.
“Based on current registrations, we anticipate supporting approximately 100 to 150 evacuees by the end of today (Tuesday) for flooding,” said Adam Goodwin, director of the Emergency Social Services for Penticton.
This is in addition to the approximately 250 evacuees Penticton has been supporting from Lytton and Lytton First Nations due to wildfires, he added.
Working with Emergency Management BC, Penticton ESS has been able to find temporary accommodations for all evacuees without insurance.
ESS is currently using a backup reception centre at the Penticton Seniors’ Drop-In Centre, and Penticton’s virtual reception centre (accessed by calling 1-833-498-3770).
“After receiving our first request for mutual aid at 1:07 p.m. on Monday, the team made up mostly of volunteers wrapped up at 9 p.m.,” said Goodwin.
“We expect another full day (Tuesday) of supporting evacuees.
“As we saw throughout this summer with wildfire evacuees, Penticton’s business community has stepped up to work with ESS to help evacuees find hotel rooms, provide meals at restaurants, groceries for families, and find a bit of warm clothing.”
As of Tuesday morning, there was no risk of flooding in Penticton but city officials were closely monitoring the situation.
Once again, the Penticton community is asking how they can donate to evacuees, said Goodwin.
Currently, evacuees are in need of gift cards for gas and incidentals. Gift cards can be dropped off at the City Hall reception desk.
For anyone impacted by the floods, please refer to the RDOS emergency webpage for the latest addresses on evacuation alerts and evacuation orders.
To access ESS services in Penticton, evacuees are to call 1-833-498-3770 to register over the phone.
However, many cellphone customers from Bell and other service providers are not being able to make or receive calls because of the wind and flooding damage. Even the Penticton RCMP non-emergency line is down.
RDOS EOC phone lines are currently down. If you need assistance please email firstname.lastname@example.org
— RDOS EOC (@EmergMgtRDOS) November 15, 2021
Those without access to a phone should register at 2965 South Main St., the Penticton Seniors’ Drop-In Centre.
Princeton has declared a state of emergency after the surging Tulameen River breached its banks in many areas throughout the town on Sunday night.
A total of 290 homes were hurriedly placed on evacuation order as some parts of Princeton are now underwater.
Hedley also experienced flooding.
The Red Bridge at Keremeos was damaged by the high waters, but the Similkameen River is receding after rising four meters in just 20 hours time Sunday to Monday morning.
— AIMRoads (@AimRoads) November 15, 2021
The entire town of Merritt has been evacuated, including the hospital due to flooding, including the town’s water treatment plant.
Highway 1, 3 and 7 are all closed due to the flooding, with several mud and rockslides along the routes connecting the Lower Mainland and Interior.
As of Tuesday, there was no way to get between the Lower Mainland and the Interior.
A large chunk of the Coquihalla Highway has washed away near Larson Hill.
It could be weeks or months away from being repaired, said the province on Tuesday.
Supply chains have been impacted as well while the highways remain closed.
Check for road closures and updates on DriveBC.