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B.C. floods: Large cohort of Merritt, B.C. residents given green light to return home

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: First-hand look at Merritt rescue mission' B.C. floods: First-hand look at Merritt rescue mission
WATCH: We're getting a first-hand look at the unprecedented rescue mission by volunteers in the interior. Kylie Stanton has the story of the dozens of rescues in Merritt - when some residents made the ill-advised decision to stay when the city was evacuated. – Nov 25, 2021

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.

Read more: B.C. floods: Merritt announces final phases for evacuees to return home

“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.”

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Not everyone could return Friday. The city issued a new evacuation order for hard-hit areas of Merritt that still included about 350 properties.

B.C. floods: Large cohort of Merritt, B.C. residents given green light to return home - image

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.

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Merritt flood recovery and preparations' B.C. floods: Merritt flood recovery and preparations
B.C. floods: Merritt flood recovery and preparations – Nov 29, 2021

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.

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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.

Read more: Merritt, B.C. resumes third phase of re-entry plan after weekend flood warnings

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.

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