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B.C. requests approximately $4B in 'preliminary' disaster relief after November floods


The federal government has received a formal request from B.C. for disaster relief and recovery funds related to November’s devastating floods, and as expected, the price tag is in the billions of dollars.

Bill Blair, the federal minister for emergency preparedness, said the province’s initial request amounts to roughly $4 billion.

"We're working together because we see the urgency of moving money out into communities and … facilitate that recovery," Blair told reporters Monday.

The flooding that resulted after an atmospheric river drenched the province with an incredible amount of concentrated precipitation impacted everything from agriculture to transportation, and forced thousands from their homes.

Major roads were washed out, towns were under water and the province estimated more than 10,000 people were displaced.

The federal funding will go toward recovery and response, but also toward ensuring infrastructure is more resilient in the future – which could result in further requests for money.

Mike Farnworth, Blair’s provincial counterpart, said significant work is already underway, and individuals had received accommodation and social supports – something that will continue.

"We have brought forward the requests in terms of disaster financial assistance," he said at a news conference. "We've received assurance from the federal government and that's part of what today is about … that that money is there."

How to prioritize the funding and projects will result in tough conversations, according to Blair. He said that's why officials from all levels of government are working together.

Mayors from 28 cities, First Nations leaders, and provincial and federal ministers met Monday for a third time after the flooding events, to discuss what supports are needed.

"We have not finished in determining the exact costs of these events. But we want to make sure that we move as expeditiously as possible to help communities and help British Columbians to recover as quickly as possible," added Blair. Top Stories

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