BRITISH COLUMBIA

Cache Creek, B.C. Promised Aid, Compassion From Premier

05/26/2015 03:56 EDT | Updated 05/26/2016 05:59 EDT
CACHE CREEK, B.C. - Premier Christy Clark donned jeans and rubber boots to walk through a slurry of mud and water left behind by a weekend flood that overwhelmed a small village in B.C.'s Interior.

Residents of Cache Creek were still cleaning up the mess with shovels and red wheelbarrows Tuesday when Clark visited the village located about 80 kilometres west of Kamloops.

The premier pledged aid for uninsured locals who were caught off by guard by a storm the likes of which she said no local had probably ever seen.

"Unbelievable is the word," she said. "Resilient is a description of this community. I'm here to make sure the community knows that as a province British Columbians are going to be here to help as much as we can."

Saturday's storm dropped 26 millimetres of rain in less than an hour. The deluge sent water flowing down the streets like rivers, sweeping away yards and swamping homes and businesses.

Twenty-three homes remain under an evacuation order and about 40 others remain under evacuation alert, said Mayor John Ranta.

The provincial government announced Monday that residents will be able to apply for disaster financial assistance, meaning the government will pay 80 per cent of damages exceeding $1,000 to a maximum $300,000 to accepted claimants.

Clark said the government is erring on the side of compassion and will deal with claims case by case, although secondary homes won't be covered.

The province is also offering disaster social services, immediate help for people who are living in motels and can't go home, she said.

"We're going to extend the social services support for folks to be able to have a few more days or whatever it takes to be able to make their homes livable again," she said.

Ranta said the program normally expires after 24 hours if people are not subject to an evacuation order, but Clark promised to extend the deadline.

"We're grateful for that commitment from the premier," he said, noting such claims will be adjudicated individually.

Clark said she talked to a man and woman whose house was almost damaged and who watched the flood trap another woman and child in a car.

"Can you imagine how frightening that must have been for the two of them," she said, noting others had their entire yards wiped out.

Homeowners, tenants, small business owners, farmers, charities and local governments must file their claims for assistance with Emergency Management B.C. by Aug. 24.

Ranta said a community meeting was scheduled for Tuesday evening and representatives of the disaster financial assistance program, the emergency operations centre, public works, and the regional district would attend to answer the public's questions.

(CHNL)

-- with Keven Drews in Vancouver

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Cache Creek, B.C. Flooding, May 2015