British Columbia Flooding: First Person Account

November 18, 2021

Enda Brophy is a Professor at Simon Fraser University. He wrote about his experience in this week’s British Columbia flooding event on Twitter.

Since Sunday afternoon my wife and I have been thrust into a climate disaster that has been otherworldly, entirely surreal, and profoundly eye-opening. 

After hours of white-knuckle driving back to Vancouver from Kelowna through the worst storm I’ve ever seen, on Sunday night we arrived in Hope to find that our last road home had been swept away in two spots.

We missed the mudslides on Highway 7 by 45 minutes. It was closed when we arrived and we cursed our luck. Can’t bear to think of the people we have lost, the lives upended, the pain that to follow if deaths are confirmed.

Since we got to Hope we’ve been among about 1200 displaced people whom the community has taken in and cared for. We’ve been fed and sheltered at the local high school and have slept two nights in our car. We’ve played lots of games of cards.

We have immense gratitude to the community in Hope for showing us what humanity is and what it can be. The generosity of spirit and solidarity we’ve seen here has been deeply moving and inspiring.

The theatre is putting on free daytime movies for kids. Locals are putting up the displaced. The craft brewery @mtnbrewing offered us a shower and to do our laundry. Camaraderie has been everywhere. 

Since we’ve arrived in Hope we’ve had front row seats to the effects of the climate crisis and it’s been impossible not to think about this deadly serious predicament we’re in.

First, the obvious: lack of radical climate action is inexcusable at this point. Whatever we lose as a result of game-changing policies or direct action will not be half as bad as what we’re facing.

Second, the time spent in Hope is a powerful reminder that when the chips are down mutual aid remains the most efficient way to ensure everyone is fed, kept warm, and housed.

Last for me is the lesson that we will need a massive expansion of entirely public emergency infrastructure to deal with further disasters. We will be living moments like this with increasing frequency and severity.


One Response to “British Columbia Flooding: First Person Account”

  1. Keith McClary Says:

    A CBC Radio program mentioned that oil and gas pipelines follow the same routes as road and rail. Some were uncovered, just hanging on hillsides, but none broke. This time.

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