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Tseshaht First Nation in Port Alberni declares state of emergency due to flooding

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Island First Nation battles fourth consecutive year of flooding.' Vancouver Island First Nation battles fourth consecutive year of flooding.
WATCH: The Tseshaht First Nation has evacuated a number of families, as the Somass river overflows its banks for the fourth year in a row. Neetu Garcha reports – Nov 27, 2017

The Tseshaht First Nation in Port Alberni has declared a state of emergency due to the flooding in the area.

This is due to a flood warning that has been issued for the Somass River, including Sproat River, Ash River and the tributaries.

Some homes have already been evacuated and other homes are being sandbagged.

The Tseshaht First Nation says 18 homes on the reserve are being warned about probable flooding, while 80 homes are being told there may be long detours to reach them due to road closures in the area. It is expected Highway 4 will flood.

“We evacuate people who are medically fragile, who are elderly or who have very small babies,” said Hugh Braker, director of the Emergency Operations Centre for the Tseshaht First Nation.

In total, five homes and 17 people have been evacuated. They should be allowed to return home today.

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The threat of flooding comes after a series of strong storms moved over Vancouver Island last week and over the weekend, saturating the soil and causing water levels to rise considerably.

The Emergency Operations Centre opened last Tuesday and the threat level rose to level 3 over the weekend.

The river has subsided a little on Monday, however, the Sproat River in the region is still rising.

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“We’re expecting 60 millimetres of rain between now and late Wednesday afternoon here in the Alberni Valley and a bit more up in the windward side of the mountains,” said Braker.

“Normally, in fall, that’s okay, we can handle that but the fact is the ground is completely saturated, the watershed has no capacity to hold any more rain, the dams are all full, so if we get much more than 50 or 60 millimetres we’re into trouble again.”

The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor conditions and update this advisory as conditions warrant.

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