A state of emergency has been declared in Canada. The western province of British Columbia after the Vancouver storm destroyed infrastructure and cut road and rail links in the region.
The Canadian Armed Forces are being deployed to help thousands of stranded residents who have been trapped since the storm hit overnight on Sunday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged assistance during a visit to Washington DC and said troops would help rebuild.
State of emergency
One woman was killed in a landslide, and two people are missing.
Thousands remain evacuated after an “atmospheric river” – a long strip of moisture in the air that transports water from tropical areas towards the poles – dumped the region’s monthly rainfall average in 24 hours. Watch a video of the damage here.
Vancouver storm damage
Officials in the region have attributed the natural disaster to the effects of climate change. The damage from the Vancouver storm has yet to be fully assessed but, initial assessments suggest that the cost could run into billions.
So the Port of Vancouver is completely cut off from the rest of Canada (by truck and rail) and it will take months to repair the highways and bridges…but yeah, lets not deal with climate change because it will just be too damn hard on the economy. FFS.
— Todd Kemper🚲🇨🇦 (@tkemper1900) November 15, 2021
The impact of climate change on the frequency of storms is still unclear, but we know that increased sea surface temperatures warm the air above and make more energy available to drive hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons. As a result, they are likely to be more intense with more extreme rainfall.
The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.
What is the current situation in British Columbia?
The rains and winds had largely finished by Tuesday afternoon, but several communities remain stranded. More rain is in the forecast for later in the week, and officials have warned that the death toll is likely to rise.
Helicopters on Wednesday dropped food supplies to stranded mountain communities after slides destroyed roads and floods submerged major highways.
The town of Tulameen has about 400 people trapped there, according to Reuters news agency.