‘I have nothing left’: Merritt, British Columbia, family asks for help after losing their home

KAMLOOPS, BC – Barkad Khan wiped away tears Thursday as he made another ‘frustrating’ visit to one of the emergency reception centers set up to help residents of Merritt, Colombia -British, who were forced to leave their homes due to unprecedented flooding.

Khan said he and his family, his wife Afreen and daughters Mahveen and Mahira, had only 10 minutes to get out before their house was flooded.

“It’s gone. Sub. It’s all gone. I have nothing left. Nothing to return to,” said Khan, who moved to Merritt in March from Calgary.

Khan has visited downtown Kamloops, about 100 km from Merritt, every day and officials have repeatedly told him that he will have to wait for a phone call for help.

“I’ve come here now and you know what he’s saying – if you don’t die, there’s nothing we can do for you. At least show compassion, ”Khan said.

“You have no idea how much we’ve lost. We have lost everything. It’s wrong.”

Khan said he had to borrow money from friends and family just so he could put his family in a hotel and things got desperate.

” Help us. How long can I borrow money and stay in a hotel? At some point you run out of people you can call, ”he said.

“The hardest thing in the world is asking someone for help and it breaks your ego. But for the sake of the family and the kids, you do these things.

Khan said they just had time to throw some clothes into one suitcase and go.

Inside the reception center, around 80 people waited patiently to ask for help. The children were crying. A man was carrying his things in a black garbage bag.

The BC government declared a state of emergency this week after relentless rains forced rivers to their banks, including the Coldwater River at Merritt. About 2,000 people were initially forced to leave because the flooding moved quickly, although the entire town was evacuated later when the water and sewerage plant broke down.

The town of Merritt was placed on evacuation over the summer due to a wildfire.

Henry Krause was at the center with his daughter, granddaughter and brother.

“These kinds of things seem to make things worse. On the one hand you have COVID, it leads to forest fires in Merritt and then of course now there is flooding, ”he said.

“We just went up and panicked because we heard the order that there was a general evacuation in Merritt and that we had to go. Just pack your essentials, grab what you can on a short notice, ”he said.

Krause has so far said that it seemed their home was safe and the water, which was close, was starting to recede.

“Fortunately, he didn’t rise enough to overwhelm the whole place. We hope all is well. That’s all you can do.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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