ABBOTSFORD, BC — Still trying to clean up the devastation of last week’s hurricane, farmers in Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford, BC, prepare for more rain this weekend.
After days of torrential rain flooded the area, 120 millimeters more are expected by Sunday morning, neighbors are helping each other lift and rescue the pieces.
After floodwaters forced them out last week, Grant Bauman and his family returned to their farm on Saturday. They were able to save their cows, but their barns and houses were completely submerged.
“Farmers are tough, we’re resilient, we know how to keep going, but it’s not always easy,” he told Granthshala National News. “There’s a mental and emotional side.”
On Saturday, trailer after trailer, driven by friends and neighbors, pulled into the family property to help clean up.
“It’s emotional, but at the same time it’s encouraging,” he said. “People want to help.”
The community gathered as soon as the water started flowing in Sumas Prairie.
“They dropped everything and jumped in their pickup trucks,” Richard Bosma told Granthshala National News.
Neighbors help Bosma save each of her animals, but as long as her cattle are safe, her house remains underwater.
“It was a little disappointing to see that the water hadn’t gone down a bit further, it was still about three feet deep,” he said. “There’s a piece of diesel fuel in there.”
Additional storms this weekend have slowed clean-up efforts, leaving more rain every hour in the region desperate for relief.
Crews in Abbotsford were racing on Saturday to complete repairs to the Sumas Dam, a vital tool in the city’s defense against further flooding.
“We have done everything we can in a very short amount of time,” Mayor Henry Braun told reporters on Saturday.
The dike failed during a storm last week, flooding much of Sumas Prairie. The situation worsened when the Nooksack River in Washington state breached its banks and fell into the Sumas River, which flows north across the border.
Now, with more rain expected this weekend and another storm next week, there are fears that the creek may break again.
“The unknown factor is how much water is going to come from the south of the border,” Braun said. “I’m confident in the rain we can handle, what we can’t handle if the nukes overflow.”
Canadian soldiers, along with community volunteers, are working to prevent further damage to homes.
Meanwhile, the locals are doing everything possible to hit the road to recover.
“It could take weeks. It could take months,” Baumann said. “Depends on how strong the dikes are and how much water keeps coming in.”