Hope was the epicentre of one of the province’s biggest stories of the year when access to the town was cut off at every highway.
All eyes were on the rescue efforts of people stranded there and on Highway 7 in the middle of an atmospheric river event and countless landslides.
More than 1,300 travellers were stuck in Hope for up to four days. Some camped in their vehicles. Others took shelter in churches and Hope secondary school. Still others were taken into others’ homes.
Food was flown in from service organizations and faith communities. Medicine came by air and boat, as did doctors and other health services. Patients in need were flown out, and medical staff worked around the clock at Fraser Canyon Hospital.
While all of this was taking place, disaster was also unfolding in the Othello area of the Coquihalla River. The waters rose to unprecedented levels and washed away property, homes, vehicles, outbuildings and more. Othello Road itself was washed away, and continues to be under construction, as one of the crucial emergency routes out of town.
But what started as a disaster on Nov. 14, unfolded with story after story of people helping other people.
It was the largest disaster ever experienced in Hope, and bigger than most communities will ever have to deal with. Hope council is beginning to review what worked and what didn’t. They are also letting the province know what this community needs, now and in the future.
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