Flood-stranded Canadians cram into tiny lodge, wait for rescue

A freak flood in British Columbia swallowed highways, washed away bridges and cut off railroads. Many remain stranded as rescue and recovery efforts continue.

A once-in-500-year flood event in British Columbia is the subject of on-going survival rescue and recovery efforts.
A once-in-500-year flood event in British Columbia is the subject of on-going survival rescue and recovery efforts.

For the hundreds
of travelers stranded on a mountain road between two mudslides
outside the small British Columbia town of Hope on Sunday, the
first night was the worst. They had to sleep in their cars.

But then their luck changed. By coincidence, there just
happened to be a lodge nearby. That is how almost 300
strangers found themselves crammed together for three nights.

Damage from the storms and landslides is set to cost
billions of dollars to repair, provincial officials say.

Canada’s province of British Columbia declares emergency in wake of floods

Stephanie Schafer, food services manager of Camp Hope Lodge,
was alerted by a phone call early on Monday.

“So I came in and started making breakfast… and then the
people just started coming – it ended up to be 271 of them
sleeping everywhere,” she said in an interview on Friday.

The 72-room lodge was already housing several dozen people
evacuated from wildfires which destroyed the nearby town of
Lytton in June.

So newcomers slept on mats crammed into halls and the
auditorium and the dining room. During the day they played cards
and board games.

“It was really an awesome experience. They were beautiful
people, so grateful to get out of their car, so grateful for a
place to go to the bathroom,” said Schafer.

Craig Schelter was stranded in his truck outside Hope when a
school bus turned up and took him and others to the lodge. He
said the experience had been emotional.

“It’s been great to see how everybody supported one
another,” he said.

By late Wednesday, rescuers opened a narrow road to the
town, and people were able to start leaving.

That did not include David and Doreen Crozier, who lost
everything when Lytton burned down.

“It’s been kind of weird, (experiencing) so much all at once,” said Doreen.

The flood-battered Canadian province of British Columbia received some good news at last on Friday when Canadian Pacific Railway said it should restore service in the middle of next week.

Massive floods and mudslides caused by extreme rainfall destroyed roads, bridges and homes and cut two critical east-west rail lines owned by CP and Canadian National Railway Co that lead to Canada’s busiest port in Vancouver.

CP said work to repair damaged infrastructure and restore service to the rail corridor between Kamloops and Vancouver would continue non-stop.

“Barring any unforeseen issues, we currently estimate service will be restored mid-week,” spokesperson Salem Woodrow said in an email.

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Source: Reuters

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