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Evacuation train rescues 200 people from landslide-isolated Hope, B.C.

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Town of Hope struggles to deal with complete isolation, and hundreds of stranded travellers' B.C. floods: Town of Hope struggles to deal with complete isolation, and hundreds of stranded travellers
The town of Hope, completely cut off from the rest of B.C. by landslides, is now facing shortages of food and medicine. Kamil Karamali reports – Nov 17, 2021

A late-night evacuation passenger train carrying about 200 people stranded for days by British Columbia’s mudslides and floods left Hope for Vancouver Wednesday.

Jonathan Abecassis, a spokesperson for Canadian National, said the emergency evacuation arrived in Vancouver overnight.

“It’s a joint operation,” he said in an interview from Montreal. “Emergency Management B.C. asked CN to organize it. We reached out to Via Rail and we orchestrated it with them.

“It’s about 200 evacuees who had no other way of getting out of town,” he said.

Read more: Travellers trapped in Hope, B.C. evacuate as Highway 7 temporarily reopened

Abecassis said the evacuees boarded onto a Via Rail passenger train at about 8 p.m. Wednesday.

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He said the floods and slides have seriously affected rail operations but access to Vancouver from Hope was available.

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B.C. floods: 600 people evacuated from Abbotsford as water levels continue to fluctuate, mayor says – Nov 18, 2021

“We have quite a few washouts in the area and we’re really doing whatever we can to help get people safe,” he said.

Most of the people on board the train had been in Hope, located about 150 kilometres east of Vancouver, since Sunday when disastrous floods and mudslides cut off much of the province’s major highways.

“On behalf of everyone at Via Rail and CN, we offer a heartfelt thank you to the employees who planned this operation and supported the evacuees who have gone through a very difficult time over the past few days,” said a joint CN-Via Rail statement.

Read more: Flood waters rise again in Abbotsford; 600 rescued as key pump station holds out

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“We are truly proud to have been able to offer our assistance during this emergency.”

Earlier Wednesday, B.C.’s transportation ministry announced the reopening of Highway 7 between Agassiz and Hope in limited capacity to westbound traffic only to allow people to make their way back to the Lower Mainland.

B.C. declared a state of emergency following the unprecedented flooding that has displaced residents, severed highway access, trapped motorists and resulted in at least one death of a woman and thousands of livestock.

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