The catastrophic flooding crisis in British Columbia, the likes of which experts expect will be more common in the future as a result of the climate emergency, was the subject of news headlines around the world this week.
- As reported by CTV News Wednesday, the crisis has prompted the province to declare a state of emergency, as the B.C. government announced that more fatalities caused by the floods are expected to be confirmed. At least one person has been confirmed dead as a result of a mudslide so far.
Record-breaking rainfall and high winds have triggered floods and mudslides, some of which have devastated communities, and destroyed sections of the highways that connect Metro Vancouver to the rest of the province, resulting in commuters being trapped in their cars for hours. Entire cities and other local areas have issued evacuation orders, displacing more than 17,000 people from their homes.
- The B.C. NDP government has come under heavy criticism for the speed of its response and level of communication to those left stranded.
During a press briefing Wednesday, Premier John Horgan said his government “couldn’t have even imagined” the impacts of such extreme weather, a claim contradicted by a March 2020 report which stated: “Preventive planning and flood protection are critical since a major flood today would have severe social, economic and environmental consequences.”
- Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, meanwhile, was slammed for dismissing questions about why a province-wide warning system was not used earlier this week, as he suggested that experts on the ground — “not ... experts on Twitter” — told the government it was not necessary.
Federal support has been requested and members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been deployed to support the province.
Read CTV’s full coverage of the emergency declaration here.