Cars driving through water on Highway 3 on Friday. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

Need to know: How to help, where to donate, and what to do now

Many peoperties are still on order as of Monday morning.

The water is starting to recede in Grand Forks and the Boundary after record-breaking flooding on May 11, but the forecast shows there may be more in store later this week. Here are five things you should know about the ongoing situation in the Boundary.

1) Am I still on evacuation order?

While some were allowed back into their homes Saturday night, most of the evacuation orders issued by the RDKB in the last several days still stand because of a second, forecasted peak coming between Wednesday and Friday.

Currently, over 1,400 properties totaling about 2,900 people remain on evacuation order. 1,444 of those residents have registered with the Red Cross as of Tuesday.

Around 9 p.m. on Sunday night, the RDKB removed restrictions for 50 properties north of Central between 5th and 8th Streets. Those properties remain on alert. Several essential services in the downtown core, like grocery stores and the library, have also been removed from order and placed on alert.

“While we are operationally focused at this time, our planning staff is working diligently on timely re-entry plans to areas that have been deemed safe,” the RDKB said in a news release Sunday night.

Currently there are 1,471 properties (2,942 people) on evacuation order and 167 properties (334 people) on evacuation alert. These numbers are accurate as of the Gazette’s press deadline on Tuesday afternoon, but may change in the days ahead.

The Emergency Operations Centre can be reached at 1-888-747-9119 to check the latest status of an order or alert.

If you have been evacuated, you should register with one of the two Emergency Social Services centres in Grand Forks (curling club) or Midway (Community Centre). If you cannot make it there, you are asked to register by phone at 1-800-863-6582.

2) What can I do to help?

Officials are asking residents to keep sandbags in place, and, if the water came close to breaching sandbags you had in place, add more as a precaution. Groups are still actively sandbagging at both the arena and the airport in Grand Forks, most days beginning early morning and going to late evening.

If you can’t help fill or deliver sandbags, donations of food and water are being welcomed at sandbagging locations for volunteers. Freezies, sunscreen and Gatorade have also been noted as helpful to have.

The Red Cross is active at the curling centre, but asks that donations of warm food or anything need refrigeration are not brought there. Snacks are fine, but the Salvation Army is on site and providing food for evacuees.

The Boundary Community Food Bank was impacted by flooding last week, and is currently operating from Blessings Boutique at Gospel Chapel (7048 Donaldson Drive). They will be open normal hours on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. They report that they were able to salvage a portion of their stock, but are in need of some items: canned tuna, pasta sauce, cereal, granola bars, personal care items, Puritan stews and Campbells’ Chunky soup.

While the food bank notes that while not everyone is capable or willing to give cash, cash donations would also be helpful so the food bank can purchase what they need, when they need it.

The group has donation bins at all three grocery stores, or donations can be dropped off at Gospel Chapel on Tuesday or at the Grand Forks Funeral Home.

Blessings Boutique is actively sorting and distributing a variety of clothing, toiletries and baby items to evacuees. Organizer Tammy Battersby said they are planning on being open daily for the time being. According to a Facebook post on Sunday, they currently have enough donations, but will use Facebook to advise of hours or need for donations.

3) What about medical services?

Interior Health has been monitoring the situation in Grand Forks. The Boundary Hospital has been open for the duration, though the Boundary Medical Clinic was closed last week as it was impacted by flooding.

The Boundary Medical Clinic remains closed. However, some doctors will be available at alternate locations, according to IH. Drs. Geoff Coleshill and Max Lui will be available for patient appointments during regular business hours at Silver Kettle Village, at 2350 72nd St. in Grand Forks.

Drs. Mark Szynkaruk and Gwen Campbell will be available at Boundary District Hospital (BDH) at 7649 22nd St. in Grand Forks.

Directional signage will be on display at both Silver Kettle Village and the hospital to direct patients to clinic spaces.

Pharmasave is now open.

4) What about other services?

According to a post by the RDKB on Monday, the landfill is open regular hours, but residents who have been evacuated are not yet permitted back to deal with the effects of water damage. Landfill fees are at the owner’s cost at this time, the RDKB advised. The Alpine Works yard in Ruckle was impacted by flooding.

Schools in SD51 are open Monday and are expecting to be open, but are assessing the situation continually based on the forecast. Bus stops are as normal, excepting those in the Manly Meadows and Ruckle neighbourhoods.

The Grand Forks and District Public Library is offering free printing, scanning, internet, and phones at the library until this is all over for people to start making claims. It has also said that there will be no charges for library materials lost to flooding.

The library is under evacuation alert, but library director Cari Lynn Gawletz said as long as the library remains on alert, they are planning on being open. More information will also be posted to their Facebook page.

5) What is disaster financial assistance and how do I apply for it?

Disaster Financial Assistance is a provincial program available for uninsurable disasters.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary flooding was added to the list of eligible disasters on Monday afternoon, after intense pressure from community members and local politicians. Residents have 90 days to apply for flooding after the DFA is announced for their region.

DFA is completely available for private sector (e.g. business) events that are uninsurable, like overland flooding.

Financial assistance is provided at up to 80 per cent of the total eligible claim to a maximum of $300,000. Claims may be made in more than one category ( e.g. if you are a farm owner and a homeowner) . Small business owners must show proof that it is their primary source of income. People with damaged rental properties must apply and qualify as a small business.

DFA forms and other information can be found at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/emergency-response-and-recovery/disaster-financial-assistance/forms-and-information

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