BC’s recent storm flooded the entire cities of Princeton, Merritt, and Abbotsford, and many others areas across the Fraser Valley. It has forced thousands of people from their homes and stranded others, with fatalities beginning to be reported. The damage it has caused to infrastructure is extensive. It has destroyed sections of all of BC's major highways, which has left many communities cut off from essential services. This afternoon the province declared a state of emergency.
In response to this unprecedented disaster, we have opened the BC Flood Relief Fund and our Board of Directors immediately approved a $10,000 disbursement as strong signal of support. We have also reached out to leaders of other faith-based and ethno-cultural communities with whom we have working relationships to determine opportunities for partnerships so we can maximize our impact together.
Our staff have mobilized in a number of other important ways, too, including reaching out to community members who are living in affected areas to better understand what they may need. We are in touch with officials and frontline organizations working on the ground to find out what is needed now, what is anticipated down the road, and to offer our staff's professional expertise wherever we can make a positive difference.
Our community and our Jewish Federation have a history of responding quickly and generously whenever and wherever disaster strikes. This is a developing situation, and while the damage is still being assessed its long-term impact is certain, and funding will be key in meeting the evolving needs.