Flooding in Sumas Prairie, November 22, 2021.
Widespread flooding in the Sumas Prairie area of Abbotsford took a massive toll on farms in the area, and hundreds of thousands of animals drowned.
During Thursday’s press conference, Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said 628,000 poultry had been reported dead in the Sumas Prairie area, along with around 12,000 pigs and 420 dairy cattle. In addition, around 110 beehives remain flooded.
Although the worst of recent storms has passed, Popham said 819 farms remain under evacuation orders in the Sumas Prairie area.
“The work of farmers, volunteers and businesses to clean barns and remove these animals continues to be extremely heartbreaking,” said Popham.
“I have been in constant contact with the farmers during the last round of storms and they continue to show their incredible resilience. “
Popham said the government was still working to fully assess the total losses in the area from the flooding. There are about 700 acres of blueberries in the Sumas Prairie, and some fields have been inundated with eight feet of water. Many remain underwater.
“We’re not going to be able to know the full extent of damage to these plants,” Popham said, adding that the blueberry plants would not come out of dormancy until April.
Popham said the government was working to set up donation centers in the area to help manage food and supply donations arriving for affected farmers.
“Finding places for donations is a good problem to have,” she said. “The generosity of the people has been exceptional.