Flooding continues in the Kootenay-Boundary Region. (Cheryl Maddalozzo/Facebook)

UPDATED: Canadian military deploys to help flood-ravaged Grand Forks

Thousands of people remain on evacuation order in the Kootenay-Boundary region

The Canadian Armed Forces are on their way to Grand Forks, but as of Thursday afternoon officials don’t quite know how many will touch down in the Boundary.

According to a media briefing on Thursday afternoon, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) Area D Director Roly Russell, 240 members have been deployed so far – 100 of those currently in Vernon, and another 140 from Edmonton set to arrive in Vernon shortly.

Russell said they are not yet sure how many of those will be “boots on the ground” in Grand Forks.

Politicians in the area had confirmed they made the request for federal aid late Tuesday night.

On Wednesday evening, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed that Ottawa was ready to help.

“Federal agencies ready to help in response to B.C’s official request today,” Goodale tweeted.

In a statement released Thursday morning, Goodale said that he had spoken with his provincial counterpart Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

Goodale said that Ottawa is working to coordinate the federal response, which will include support from the Canadian Armed Forces.

“Troops are deploying to the affected areas and will provide assistance with evacuations, help protect key assets from flood damage, and bolster sandbagging efforts,” Goodale said.

The troops come from the Joint Task Force Pacific and personnel from 3rd Canadian Division based in Edmonton.

Initial reconnaissance personnel have been sent to Victoria and Vernon and an additional Immediate Response Unit vanguard, made up of more than 100 personnel, deployed from Edmonton Wednesday night.

The support comes as around 2,900 people remain on evacuation order in the region as floods have swept through the area, with more rain expected on the forecast.

Russell said there is much the Forces can be used for on the ground, including executing evacuation orders and filling sandbags and protecting property. Russell also said the expertise of the teams can be used in damage assessments and working on re-entry plans.

Environment Canada is forecasting thunderstorms and between 20-40 millimetres of rain for the next few days for the Kootenay-Boundary region.

READ MORE: How to help, where to donate, and what to do now

Premier John Horgan announced Wednesday that the province will match up to $20 million in donations made to the Canadian Red Cross to help those affected by the floods.

The dollar-for-dollar donation matching will run from May 16 to July 31, and will apply to any individual donations made by B.C. residents.


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