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Volunteers sandbag for hours to protect Westside as further evacuations ordered

‘Westside truly is the best side,’ resident thanks all those lending a hand
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More properties are evacuated due to rising flood waters at Parkers Cove off Westside Road.

The Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) issued the order Thursday, May 4 at 3:30 p.m. for #130 Deer Street, #114 Elk Street and #53 Lakeshore Drive.

The order is “due to immediate danger to life safety caused by: Flooding of Whiteman’s Creek,” according to OKIB.

@mattwoollam

Parker Cove Vernon BC Whiteman Creek and it's extreme winter melt

♬ original sound - Matt

Although more residents have been displaced, there is a community of support to help them.

People of all ages and from near and far have been pitching in for days to sandbag and build berms to protect properties from flooding.

OKIB Grade 6/7 students will be helping sandbag from 11-12 today.

Messages of thanks have flooded social media.

“So nice to see everyone come together in a time of need,” said Brock McIntosh. “Good work everyone, with a little luck it will start to calm down soon.”

Shauna Rae Sauer added: “Every little trickle is dealt with as soon as it’s found, to the best and safest can be. The amount of sandbags dropped to save every house that can possibly be saved is really pretty incredible. And every day there are new volunteers, which is just so refreshing. I know some of us have been out for days doing what they can, and it’s all hard work, so new fresh energy is so welcomed.

“Man, I really love this community. Westside truly is the best side.”

COBS Bread in Vernon also showed up with goodies today to help treat the volunteers who are helping sandbagging.

@mattwoollam

community! that's what it's all about! Parker Cove Vernon BC

♬ original sound - Matt

OKIB is asking all non emergency personnel to vacate the evacuation order area.

“Receiving an evacuation order can be an emotional experience. You may be reluctant to leave your home and community,” OKIB said in a Friday update.

“However, choosing to remain in an area that is under an evacuation order puts yourself, your family, and first responders in danger.”

Evacuation routes can change or become impassible, services, utilities and businesses that you rely on daily may be shut down and help may not be able to reach an evacuated area because of a risk to their own safety or access is blocked.

“In other jurisdictions, fatalities have occurred when people chose to remain behind or waited too long to leave,” OKIB reminds residents.

For example, according to a report from Australia’s Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, 31 per cent of the 552 wildfire-related fatalities in that country from 1956 to 2008 were the result of people evacuating too late after an evacuation order was issued. Another 26 per cent of the deaths were related to people attempting to defend properties against an advancing wildfire.

READ MORE: Westside bridge single lane as flood waters rise on Okanagan Band

READ MORE: Armstrong under flood warning


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

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