Farmers In BC Told To Leave Their Animals As 'People's Lives Are More Important'
Abbotsford, B.C., has whole areas submerged in water due to flooding, leading to the Sumas Prairie region being evacuated and a local state of emergency being ordered.
Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said at a news conference on Tuesday that people in flooding areas should leave their farm animals behind to get out immediately.
Abbotsford has a huge agricultural industry, many farms being in the Sumas Prairie region. Chief of Police Mike Serr explained in an earlier press conference on the same day that many farmers were actively trying to save their livestock.
Multiple photos and videos were shared online showing attempted rescues of animals.
Saw incredible grit in Abbotsford today, as farmers and community members rallied to rescue dozens of cattle stranded by #bcflood with boats, dinghies, a jet ski and even a hover craft. Heard these scenes were playing out across the valley.\nPhotographed for @reuterspictures:pic.twitter.com/B7azI3EeSs— Jesse Winter (@Jesse Winter) 1637122819
Braun said that he understands why some would want to stay on their farms and save their livestock.
"There are people with powerboats hauling cows out of their barns," he said.
In the conference, Braun said that Abbotsford is "just at the beginning of a big fight," in reference to the major flooding.
"I have not seen this kind of devastation in my 68 years that I've lived here and it breaks my heart to see what's happening to those farmers who put their life savings into their properties and into their farms," he added.
Braun later stressed that, although he understands the farmers, "people's lives are more important to me right now than livestock and chickens."
Abbotsford is also dealing with a "fairly major" fire event taking place at an RV lot, that is blowing in potentially toxic smoke.
B.C. is reportedly considering a provincial state of emergency due to the storm, which resulted in flooding and mudslides.
Vancouver is now cut off by road from the rest of Canada after highway closures because of floods.