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Some B.C. evacuees to be allowed to return home, key railway corridor to reopen

Canadian Pacific plans to reopen its railway between Kamloops and Vancouver by midday
A collapsed section of a bridge sits in the water after severe flooding and landslides on the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt, B.C., as seen in an aerial view from a Canadian Forces reconnaissance flight on Monday, November 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Some evacuees are set to return home today and a key railway corridor is expected to reopen following record rainfall in B.C. that caused flooding and triggered mudslides.

A week after the entire city of Merritt, B.C. was forced to evacuate when the Coldwater River flooded into the community of about 7,000, officials announced the first phase of its three-step return home plan will take affect as of noon, with certain properties remaining on evacuation alert and under a boil-water advisory.

Canadian Pacific said it plans to reopen its railway between Kamloops and Vancouver by midday, but the railway’s CEO cautioned the next 10 days will be critical as they move toward returning to full service.

CP said it will work closely with customers and terminals to clear the backlogs and get freight moving efficiently again.

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu announced on Monday that Ottawa will provide $4.4 million in funding to the First Nations Emergency Services Society in B.C. to support those affected by flooding.

Terry Teegee, regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, said more than 100 Indigenous and First Nations communities were affected by the flooding and landslides in southwestern B.C., and several are waiting for resources to be helicoptered to them after being cut off by flooded roads.

—The Canadian Press

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