New Brunswick Tribune

Thursday, November 30, 2023

State of emergency declared in B.C, more deaths are expected

Key takeaways:

  • B.C. has declared a state of emergency following a storm that left parts of the province under water and debris.
  • Earlier this week, a group representing B.C. First Nations called on the province to adopt such steps.

Following a storm that left portions of the province under water and debris, B.C. has declared a state of emergency.

Premier John Horgan made the announcement in public for the first time since disclosing he needed a biopsy for what was eventually identified as cancer.

The state of emergency was declared at 12 p.m., according to Horgan.

“For British Columbians who have faced yet another natural calamity, the last several days have been tremendously painful,” he said.

“Heavy rains, high winds, and flooding have wreaked havoc across our province.”

He said that thousands of people had been displaced from their houses, and at least one person had died.

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“Unfortunately, more fatalities are expected to be confirmed in the coming days,” Horgan warned.

The premier stated that he has spoken with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has provided federal resources, and that B.C. has now formally sought the Canadian Armed Forces’ assistance.

The governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, he said, have also assisted.

When the state of emergency is announced, the provincial government will have greater choices for reacting to a natural disaster.

“The order will ensure that communities across the province have basic access to services and supplies,” Horgan said.

Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth’s announcement will be utilised to help alleviate the effects on transportation networks, he added.

The announcement of a state of emergency was made in response to recommendations from the Ministry of Transportation and Emergency Management of British Columbia.

Farnworth described the storm’s damage as “destruction” and said that getting B.C.’s trains and roadways back up and running would be the province’s top priority.

This is in addition to assisting the 17,775 persons who have been forced to flee their homes owing to evacuation orders.

State of emergency in British Columbia; more deaths expected

A group was representing B.C. First Nations called on the province to take such measures earlier this week.

In a news release to the government on Tuesday, the group wrote that such a state would make it simpler for members affected by the “biggest weather storm in a century,” according to one regional official.

According to the First Nations Leadership Council, many nations are under evacuation orders or alerts and are attempting to negotiate the convoluted provincial system for disaster funds.

“B.C. needs to use all of its resources and take unprecedented measures. Only by declaring a state of emergency will this be possible. “The FNLC penned a letter.

Under the Emergency Program Act, they were declaring a state of emergency grants the additional government authorities. So, for example, during the state of emergency triggered by the COVID-19 epidemic, officials were able to punish anybody who disobeyed the provincial health officer’s directives.

These states also give the province the authority to make payments or grants to local governments, implement emergency plans, acquire or utilise personal property needed to respond to an emergency, limit or ban travel, and order evacuations, among other things.

A state of emergency continues for two weeks by default, after which it can be renewed. They can, however, be cancelled at any time.

The FNLC quoted Grand Chief Stewart Philip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, as saying in its call for a state of emergency, “As extreme weather events wreak havoc across British Columbia, First Nations are bearing the brunt of climate change’s effects and have been forced to flee their homes once more. 

The unexpected and persistent weather occurrences demonstrate that we are no longer in a climate crisis; we are in the midst of a climate emergency, putting lives and communities in jeopardy.”

Source: CTV Weekly

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