More than a thousand trapped in Hope as families try to reserve helicopters to escape

Roads leaving the city are not expected to open after dark, adding to the stress that the influx of people has had on the city.

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More than 1,200 people are now trapped in Hope after all roads outside the city were washed away by unprecedented rains and landslides.

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Peter Robb said he has seen nothing like it in his years as mayor of the city of 6,200, which currently has set up temporary shelters in a church and a high school that searches stranded drivers and brings them water, essential medicines and food.

“It has been a significant strain on the community,” Robb said. “One person was airlifted to Chilliwack hospital due to his injuries.”

“On Monday night we had a shortage of beds and some people had to sleep on the floor. Tonight will be a little more comfortable now that the province is delivering 1,000 cots and blankets this afternoon. “

Roads leaving the city are not expected to open after dark, adding to the stress that the influx of people has had on the city.

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Much of Hope’s rental accommodations are reserved. Camp Hope, which had a total of 36 rooms available and is running out of generator power, opened its doors to 250 people stranded by landslides after witnessing vehicles lined up along Highway 7 on Monday morning. .

Director Bill Gerber said the camp’s shelter filled up immediately and volunteers have resorted to “putting people to sleep in the auditorium.”

The Shxw’ōwhámel First Nation reservation has also been housing and feeding people in need on its reservation.

The storm has also made power and cell service in the area spotty, Robb said. People who buy food have to pay in cash. The mayor’s next concern is that the town will run out of food or fuel if the roads remain blocked for a few more days.

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“It’s apocalyptic here,” said Yasmin Andricevic of Burnaby, who was greeted at a stranger’s home Sunday night after spending hours on a rain-battered Highway 7 with her husband and two young children.

“There is a line to get into the grocery store. We don’t know if we will have enough food for our children’s dinner tonight, ”said the mother.

Andricevic has started calling helicopter companies, trying to book a charter flight out of the landlocked area with his five- and seven-year-old son.

“My children keep telling me that they want to go home,” the mother yelled. “It is not knowing when we are going to leave that excites me and scares me.”

Darren Berry, maintenance manager for Hope-based Valley Helicopters, said the company has been receiving dozens of calls from families looking for a way out. “We have decided to prioritize assisting authorities with rescues of motorists in remote areas. Our helicopters are reserved, ”he said.

Andricevic and others, including Abbotsford’s mother, Angel Claypool, are frustrated by the lack of emergency updates from the government. Both families say they have resorted to sharing crucial emergency information and updates via social media.

“All routes out of Hope remain impassable, we understand how challenging this situation is for everyone involved,” the provincial Drive BC agency tweeted Tuesday morning. “We appreciate the patience and strength of all the crews who are working hard to reopen the routes safely.”

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