Shuswap Emergency Program offers help in the wake of BC flooding

Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) continues to support efforts to cope with the aftermath of the storm and associated flooding affecting many areas of the Province − most notably by assisting evacuees from Merritt.

Local Emergency Support Service (ESS) staff and volunteers have assisted more than 500 families in providing for basic needs including accommodation, food and some clothing and other incidentals. The reception centre remains active at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort, located at 251 Harbourfront Drive NE in Salmon Arm, from 8 AM to 6 PM daily until further notice.

If they have not already done so, any evacuees staying with family or friends still need to check in with their nearest reception centre.

Due to a shortage of accommodations allowing pets, the Shuswap Branch of the SPCA is providing assistance by housing animals. Citizens can help by donating canned dog food, crates and clean blankets for the SPCA.  Please label items “SPCA Donation” and drop off at the Reception Centre.

SEP activated a Level 1 Emergency Operations Centre to monitor the situation and provide supports where needed. The SEP area did not receive the brunt of the storm. There were only minor incidents, including a small area of rock fall near Three Valley Gap and some issues with mud and water on Highway 97A south of Sicamous. Sand and sandbags were made available to affected residents south of Sicamous.

“I think everyone in our regional district can be very thankful we have been relatively unscathed compared to so many of our neighbouring municipalities and regional districts,” said Columbia Shuswap Board (CSRD) Board Chair Kevin Flynn at the November 18 Board Meeting. “…We now need to be supportive neighbours.”

There has been some panic buying of goods from local stores due to the numerous, and likely extended, highway closures. Information provided to SEP indicates there should only be short-term shortages, as supplies to this area are being redirected from Alberta.

Flynn encouraged CSRD residents to offer help and support to others in the province and to refrain from over-buying.

“I’m asking all residents to please be good neighbours so we can get through this together. There’s no other way to get through it.”

Photo: The outside of the Shuwap Emergency Program Reception centre set up at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort in Salmon Arm. (CSRD photo)

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