Island residents airlifted out as floodwaters rise
Mounties were forced to begin airlifting residents from a coastal reserve on Saturday as floodwaters continued to rise under heavy rain.
Sgt. Phil Lue said almost 100 people were being removed by helicopter from the community of Kingcome Inlet, located east of Port McNeill, and taken to a welcoming centre in Alert Bay.
"They were pretty nervous about the rising water," he said. "They got a lot of rain."
Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been lifted in the Vancouver Island community of Port Hardy, where several homes flooded overnight.
Trees were toppled, at least five roads blocked off and power was cut for thousands of residents, but no serious injuries were reported.
"As far as damages and injuries are concerned, we've been very lucky," Lue said in a release. "I can't remember the last time it has rained this hard for this length of time."
The weather forecast calls for as many as six more days of heavy rain in the area.
Mayor Bev Parnham declared a state of local emergency overnight and a shelter was set up at the town's Civic Centre for displaced residents.
By Saturday evening, four of the five blocked roads had been opened and power was restored to most of the community. The state of emergency was lifted and the temporary shelter closed.
Mudslide in Port Alice
The rains also triggered a massive mudslide on Friday in Port Alice, a village located just south of Port Hardy.
Mounties say mud and debris roughly 15 feet high and 100 feet wide slid down Rumble Mountain on to Marine Drive, the main road in Port Alice, blocking access to part of the village and the Neucel Pulp Mill.
"The mill is isolated," Lue said, adding the mud cannot be removed until it's examined by Environment Ministry geotechnologists who would assess the risk of further slides.
About 55 people were working at the mill, police say, and can only leave by boat or helicopter until the road is cleared.
Power was cut to the entire village, but authorities say the damage was minimal and no injuries or missing people were reported in the area.
"With a slide of that magnitude, we are very fortunate that there has not been more devastation," he said.
The public is asked to stay away from the area surrounding the slide for the time being.
With files from The Canadian Press
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