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Food airlifted to some areas along Highway 8

It's unknown when Highway 8 may be usable again
Highway 8
Large sections of Highway 8 were washed into the Nicola River during last week's storm.

The winding highway connecting Merritt and Spences Bridge was one of the hardest hit highways during B.C.'s massive storm last week, with much of the road falling into the Nicola River.

The destruction of Highway 8 has cut off a number of homes in the area, including several First Nation communities.

During Thursday's press conference, Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth said the province, with the Canadian Armed Forces, have been airdropping food to people in isolated areas.

“There is significant help and assistance in the area of Highway 8, as we know that that particular highway was impacted beyond belief,” Farnworth said.

“There have been air drops of food going in. There have been initiatives to use forest roads to provide access. There are military flights, that have also assisted in dropping off, but also in using LiDAR, for example, to be able to assess the state of the road and a potential reworking of that road.”

Earlier this week, Shackan Indian Band Chief Arnold Lampreau said his evacuated community's band council had yet to be contacted by any provincial agency, and they had given up trying to contact Emergency Support Services or Emergency Management BC.

“[Emergency Management BC] never looked after our people. We fell through the cracks. We never even got called days after,” Lampreau said.

But on Thursday, Farnworth said he believes that everyone who needed supports has been able to access them.

“On terms of ensuring that people have emergency supports, EMBC is working to make sure that those are in place, and as far as we're aware, everyone who needs to access those supports is able to.”

“If there is someone who feels they are not, absolutely to get in contact with Emergency Management BC, and those lines are there.”

Farnworth conceded there's been issues with evacuees being able to get through on the phone to access the recently announced $2,000 from the Red Cross and the B.C. government.

“We are absolutely aware of the situation and we have been in contact with the Red Cross about this, I know that they are working on this,” Farnworth said.

“That being said, I do urge people to be patient. There is no cut-off date, so people should not feel that they need to get on right now.”

The province has not offered any estimated timeline of when Highway 8 may be usable once again, but Highway 5 north of Hope is expected to take at least two months before temporary repairs make it passable.