BC Association of Community Response Networks

Flooding in the Province a “National Calamity”: Statement by Aronjit Lageri, Director, BC CRN Board

The catastrophic flooding resulting from the “atmospheric river” phenomenon earlier in the month has devastated whole communities in southern and coastal communities in the province. At the time of writing, the heavy rains from the second “atmospheric river” had been falling for several hours.

Vulnerable communities that were already underserved and are now in dire straits. The challenges presented by COVID-19 have compounded with the addition of these severe weather episodes. It’s a national calamity, a disaster that we had not planned for.

As an essential worker, I’m seeing the impact firsthand. I’m also seeing the mobilization of communities inside and outside the flood zones coming together.

Teams in Fraser Health are working hard to keep centres open and running. (Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and the Fraser Canyon, some of the areas hardest hit by the storms, are located in the Fraser Health catchment.) We are doing everything we can to ensure our staff can get there to provide service.

Community groups are banding together to gather donations, supply food and shelter, and provide hands-on assistance on the ground. The Sikh community has rallied to prepare, cook, and package thousands of meals to date. Businesses have been working together to raise the necessary funds to enlist helicopters to transport supplies, including meals and food. Good Samaritans near and far are volunteering their time to help in emergency centres and through in-kind contributions.

Community response networks (CRNs) in the affected areas continue to respond quickly to the immediate needs of the community in any way they can, from assisting those whose homes were flooded to ensuring food banks are open and stocked.

The hearts and hands of many continue to reach out, offering support. Despite my heart feeling heavy and sad for the ones who lost everything, I can’t help but also feel warmth and gratitude towards the ones who have chosen to step forward and help.

To the people who have been affected by the flooding: our thoughts and prayers are with you. To the volunteers: thank you for your selfless contributions.

Aronjit is an imaging informatics coordinator with Fraser Health who lives in Surrey, BC. He is also profiled as our volunteer of the month. You can learn more about him by reading the article now.

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(Header Photo: courtesy of BC Hydro)