Crews still assessing damage in Merritt a week after devastating flood

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Dozens of volunteers were assessing the damage to homes in a flood-hit community in Merritt on Sunday.

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An estimated 7,000 residents were evacuated from the city, some because of flooding, and others because the city’s drinking and wastewater systems were rendered inoperable by the floods.

“The south of town looks different from what you saw last time. Roads have been damaged. Middlesboro Bridge has collapsed. The river has been diverted. And unfortunately homes and vehicles have been destroyed, Mayor Linda Brown said in Saturday evening’s video update.

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He said volunteers worked as quickly as possible on Saturday to assess the security of the homes according to a colour-coded system.

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Once a city is deemed safe, residents of homes with “green” codes will be granted access to their properties, while residents of homes with “yellow” codes will receive instructions on next steps.

“Owners of ‘red’ properties are unfortunately likely to remain vacant for extended periods. When you come home, the merit will not show how it was after you left,” she said.

Brown said the city’s emergency planners are working on a plan to cancel evacuation orders for parts of the city that are not directly hit by floodwaters.

This cannot happen until the city’s water system is brought back online.

Brown said crews were still working to remove debris from Merritt’s sewage pipes, as well as to inspect and inspect the drinking water system. Once this process is completed, the drinking water will be tested, a process that takes at least 24 hours.

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She gave no timeline for those efforts, but said they remained on time.

Brown said the city has also set up a flood information line for evacuation.

Earlier this week, some expressed frustration with the lack of information and communication, and long delays in accessing emergency aid and funding.

On Saturday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnsworth acknowledged those frustrations, and said the province was working to clear the backlog and accelerate emergency aid.

“For those who are waiting, we will reimburse housing costs for those who are eligible,” he said. “That reimbursement process is still being worked out.”

Merit has been declared eligible for provincial disaster financial assistance. Residents can get more details on how to apply here City of Merit Website,

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