More residents returning home in Merritt

More return home in Merritt

A new wave of Merritt residents is being welcomed back to the city as flood risk subsides, but many homes remain inhabitable.

The municipality announced Friday that it was lifting evacuation orders in the Phase 3 and 4 zones, with the exception of properties closest to the Coldwater River.

The properties that are still under order are either: uninhabitable, unsafe, do not have natural gas, do not have water, do not have sewer, do not have electricity or a combination of these situations.

All properties under evacuation order still qualify for ESS support and those residents can access their properties between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The entire city remains under a boil water notice, but garbage collection will resume next week. Interior Health has announced the hospital’s emergency department opened Friday morning.

After a brutal three weeks, Merritt’s recovery can finally begin in earnest without the threat of additional flooding.

The city was evacuated on Nov. 15. Some residents have since returned home, but many — approximately two thirds to half of the city’s residents, according to a rough estimate — remained under evacuation order until Friday.

“Residents must be aware of the hazards and potential dangers that come with accessing flood affected areas. Some roadways are not accessible due to infrastructure damage such as buckled sidewalks and roads and eroded road shoulders. Other hazards include closed-off areas; contaminated soils; sinkholes; and extensive debris/mud/water,” the city said in a statement.

More information for returning evacuees can be found here.

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