A B.C. woman, her husband and their dog were all hoping to get home to Maple Ridge from 100 Mile House, but instead had to spend two nights in their car, sleepless, worried for their safety, and cold due to the atmospheric river event in B.C.
Lisa Craik, husband Dave and their dog, Mia, were on their way back to Maple Ridge when they were diverted through Princeton before it flooded. They got through Hope and were on Hwy. 7 when just five minutes ahead of them, the mudslide happened in Agassiz.
“It is almost like each time you move, you get caught up in another problem. So we stayed, but then of course yesterday morning, we were told that a second slide had happened behind us between Johnson Slough Rest area, and Ruby Creek,” said Lisa, director of operations with Re/Max Lifestyle Realty.
The couple was stuck right next to Johnson Slough.
“It was just pouring rain. There were power lines down, and trees down. I have never experienced anything like that,” she said, “We were just grateful we were safe, we were grateful we weren’t swept away in the landslide. There were some vehicles up ahead of us that were pushed off the road when the slide happened, and I can’t even imagine what that experience must have been, and I am just grateful those people got out.”
The stranded people on the Highway were told that they were going to be air-lifted out, and almost 275 people were airlifted by Monday night, however Lisa wasn’t one of them.
“Honestly, I think there was some miscommunication between the emergency services because they airlifted around 275 people yesterday, but then there were all of us still trapped between the two slides, between 400 to 500 people.”
The couple had water on their right and the Fraser river on their left, and over the course of Monday morning until it went dark, the water had come up a lot and the couple was starting to get worried.
“If the water had kept rising, it would’ve gotten to the road. So we were very grateful when they managed to push a section of that mudslide on the east side open, so that all cars and trucks could go back into Hope, but the problem is, we are back into Hope, so now what? We can’t go anywhere, so now there is 100s of people all trying to get gas, a place to stay, food and all hotels are booked up,” explained Lisa.
The couple parked on the road right by the entrance to Hwy. 1 in Hope along with roughly 40 other cars.
“You are tired, haven’t slept well, starting to run out of food, it has definitely been a very interesting experience. But you see these people coming to your cars to give you bottles of water, and you are just so appreciative of any small gestures that someone did for you,” she said, pointing also to the generosity of Camp Hope and Skawahlook First Nation who opened their doors to those stranded on the Highway.
Lisa, a former publisher with Black Press Media, took to social media to find help, and had family and friends connecting her to people they knew in Hope.
“We didn’t want to put any pressure on the emergency services because they need to be helping people that have medical issues, or the elderly or people with young children,” she said.
She finally found one couple through her friends who took them in, and when she spoke with The News, she was speaking from the kind couple’s home, just in time too, as she was told that the temperatures were going to drop Tuesday and snow was expected later this week.
“I would like to thank the couple who took us in their home, I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. We were just going to keep using whatever we had until we ran out. But we don’t know what that would look like; it is definitely nerve-wrecking.”
Lisa doesn’t expect to get out today and thinks it could take another couple of days for the Highway to be cleared, and for her to get to her home in Maple Ridge. However, in the meantime, she wants to help wherever she is able to, and is hoping that with her story getting out, more people find ways to send help to people in Hope and other affected regions.
“There are just so many people who have lost their homes, their cars, their work, they have nothing, they don’t know where to go, they are cold, they are wet, they don’t have enough food, water, so it’s a dire situation. So anyone who can help bring supplies, or help the people of Hope, or Meritt, do whatever you can to help. We are just grateful we are okay and if we can help anybody, we will try and help them.”
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