Several homes near Cawston, B.C. cut off by mudslide

Click to play video: 'Several homes near Cawston cut off by mudslide'
Several homes near Cawston cut off by mudslide
WATCH: Several homes just outside of Cawston have been cut off by a mudslide. That slide came started yesterday morning and according to Lower Similkameen Indian Band officials, the slide is still moving. Taya Fast reports. – May 4, 2023

Several homes just outside of Cawston, B.C., have been cut off by a mudslide since Wednesday morning.

The slide came down near Moonshine Creek on Lower Similkameen Indian Band land and crossed over Chopaka Road.

Although no homes were damaged, over a dozen people are trapped on the north side of the slide, including Kalika Archachan’s family.

“I got to work over at 8:15 a.m. and was told about an hour or so after during work that there was a mudslide near my house and I wasn’t able to go home and that the band was going to figure out what to do,” said Archachan.

“It sucks, can’t see my family and I can’t see my daughter either. I can only video chat with her and the rest of my family as well.”

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According to the Lower Similkameen Indian Band Chief Keith Crow, there are eight homes on the north side, and everyone has been accounted for.

As of Thursday afternoon, plans were being made for a helicopter to go in and rescue some of the high-risk elders who were trapped.

“They’re going to take some supplies in for the other families that are in there and then for the high-risk elders, they are going to bring them out after they drop off the supplies,” said Chief Crow.

“It’s [the other families’] choice if they do want to come out, we will work with them. At this point, it’s those elders that were our biggest concern.”
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The Lower Similkameen Indian Band did declare a local state of emergency on Wednesday as the slide was still moving.

According to Chief Crow, the slide is currently about 12 feet deep and 100 feet wide.

“[Wednesday], a helicopter went up with some Geotech to have a look at it on behalf of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. It’s not safe enough for them to start cleaning up until the water stops flowing. But as of [Thursday morning] the water was still flowing on top of that slide,” said Chief Crow.

“We weren’t expecting this creek to come down the way it did.”

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The band says they will be closely monitoring the slide and the weather over the next couple of days.

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“It’s mainly localized to where it is,” said Chief Crow. “The water is actually almost down the centre of the mudslide — this point, we’re not overly concerned.

“We are reassessing every day.”

In the meantime, emergency operations have put Archachan up in a hotel with no timeline as to when she will be able to go home.

“I just miss my nephews and my daughter and my mom and all my family. And I just can’t wait to be home in my own bed,” said Archachan.

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