Abbotsford, BC –
Fighting winds and water, volunteers continue to rescue livestock on flood-stricken Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford.
A volunteer says 50 calves have been taken to safety, and a video shows the animals taken on a boat.
Thousands of animals have already died in the unprecedented flooding, as desperate efforts to prevent further tragedies continue.
The volunteers used trucks to transport water to the evacuation area.
One of these volunteers is Kevan Garecki.
“We have seven dairy farms that we still have to fill today,” he told CTV News, adding that there were also poultry farms he was trying to get to.
Garecki says the biggest problem is access.
“In the northeast end of the prairie, the water is actually rising and some farms we were in this morning we won’t be able to come back,” he explained.
Garecki became emotional when he spoke about being able to provide water for the cows, knowing that if he hadn’t joined them last night, some of them might not still be alive.
“I feel pretty good about it,” he said.
Earlier this week, farmers and volunteers moved livestock using boats and jet skis, then herded the animals into waiting trailers.
Thousands of cattle have been moved out of the flooded areas. Dairy farmers unaffected by the floods took in the animals.
“The farmers with their vans and trailers rushed over to Sumas Prairie and loaded the animals, eight to ten at a time, and took them to whatever farms in Chilliwack and Agassiz had room,” he said. said Holger, dairy farmer from Agassiz. Schwichtenberg, who takes care of the cattle of two additional herds.
“I remember this was the most difficult year for dairy farmers in BC, with the drought, the pandemic and now the flooding,” said Schwichtenberg, who also chairs the BC Dairy board. Association.
Despite evacuation orders, many farmers still refuse to leave their properties.
“These farmers are second, third, maybe even fourth generation farmers and they love their cattle, they love their land and they don’t want to move,” said Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun.
But first responders say conditions are constantly changing in the flood zone and residents are being urged to leave.
In the meantime, there are some signs of hope.
Authorities issued permits for the first two feed trucks to enter the evacuation area.