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Posted: June 23, 2013

Evacuation order lifted for Hosmer

Water levels on the Elk River continued to drop overnight and residents in the community of Hosmer are heading home.

Area A Director Mike Sosnowski
Area A Director Mike Sosnowski

“The evacuation order that has been in place since Friday in Hosmer has been rescinded. The water levels are down and the sun is shining. This is a great day,” says Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Electoral Area A Director Mike Sosnowski. “Looking back over the past 48 hours, I’m amazed by how this area has pulled together. We had over 300 people working from dawn to well after midnight filling sandbags, transporting those bags to various locations and offering support in any way possible. There has been tireless effort by equipment operators, truck drivers and management personnel. It has been incredible to see and is a testament to the close knit, supportive community this is.”

Eighty-eight families have been out of their homes since Friday and emergency officials have been keeping a close eye on the Elk River.

Volunteers wait in line for sandbags at the Hosmer Community Hall/Fire Hall June 21. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW images
Volunteers wait in line for sandbags at the Hosmer Community Hall/Fire Hall June 21. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW images

“Emergency Program personnel and representatives from the Water Stewardship Branch have been closely monitoring the dike and river banks in Hosmer. We had a few areas where turbid water was bubbling up on the upland side of the dike, causing some concern about the potential for erosion within the dike,” explains Information Officer, Loree Duczek. “The water in those areas is now clear and it’s great to see people returning home.”

The RDEK is providing those returning to their homes with information on the safety procedures to follow along with information on how to move forward with the cleanup process. Anyone whose home has been damaged by the floodwaters, or who had their electrical or gas turned off will have to arrange for the appropriate inspections prior to settling back into their homes.

In addition, damage assessments will soon be underway as the transition is made from response to recovery.

“The Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre has applied to have this rain event approved for Disaster Financial Assistance. That process is provincial and can take several weeks before we know if the rain event will even be approved,” adds Duczek. “We are encouraging anyone who did experience damage in their homes to arrange for an assessment, take extensive photos, document damages and keep any receipts so that they have the information they need to make a claim if DFA funding is approved by the province.”

In other parts of Area A, the situation has improved further overnight. West Fernie is holding stable and drainage has returned to normal; the evacuation order for Thompson Road was rescinded last night; the evacuation alert for the Cokato Road area was lifted last night; and, the Fernie Transfer Station, which had been closed yesterday, has reopened today.

In spite of the positive developments, the declaration of the State of Local Emergency for Area A remains in place and residents are urged to use extreme caution in and around waterways.

The sandbags that have been placed around homes and infrastructure will stay in place for at least a few more days as more rainfall is forecasted for the early part of the week.


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