Another large cohort of Merritt, B.C., residents have been given the green light to return home in the wake of devastating flooding.
The city said Friday that the risk of flooding had abated, and that Phase 3 and Phase 4 evacuation orders in its Return Home Plan had been lifted as of 2 p.m. Friday.
“Residents must be aware of the hazards and potential dangers that come with accessing flood affected areas,” the city said in a notice to returning residents.
“Some roadways are not accessible due to infrastructure damage such as buckled sidewalks and roads and eroded road shoulders. Other hazards include closed-off areas; contaminated soils; sinkholes; and extensive debris/mud/water.”
Not everyone could return Friday. The city issued a new evacuation order for hard-hit areas of Merritt that still included about 350 properties.
Homes still under an evacuation order have been deemed uninhabitable or unsafe; lacked natural gas, water or sewer service; had no electricity; or had some combination of those concerns.
Residents who remained under an evacuation order continued to be eligible for emergency social services support, and could still access their properties between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., the city said.
Sewage services had been restored for homes outside the evacuation area, however a boil water advisory was in place for the entire city. Water must be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute before being consumed.
Residents were also urged to check for damage to gas or electrical equipment in their homes, and not to turn on any equipment until it had been inspected by a licensed contractor.
Trash collection would resume on Monday, the city said.
Merritt was evacuated on Nov. 15 due to sudden flooding from the Coldwater River, with surging waters also damaging the community’s water treatment facility.