HOPE, British Columbia -- For the hundreds of travelers stranded on a mountain road between two mudslides outside the small British Columbia town of Hope on Sunday, the first night was the worst. They had to sleep in their cars.
But then their luck changed - by coincidence, there just happened to be a lodge nearby. And that is how almost 300 strangers found themselves crammed together for three nights.
Damage from the storms and landslides is set to cost billions of dollars to repair, provincial officials say.
Stephanie Schafer, food services manager of Camp Hope Lodge, was alerted by a phone call early on Monday.
"So I came in and started making breakfast ... and then the people just started coming - it ended up to be 271 of them sleeping everywhere," she said in an interview on Friday.
The 72-room lodge was already housing several dozen people evacuated from wildfires which destroyed the nearby town of Lytton in June.
So newcomers slept on mats crammed into halls and the auditorium and the dining room. During the day they played cards and board games.
|Camp Hope's head housekeeper, Evie Conner, helps load leftover supplies bound for a local food bank after rainstorms caused flooding and landslides near Hope, British Columbia, Canada November 19, 2021. Photo: Reuters
"It was really an awesome experience. They were beautiful people, so grateful to get out of their car, so grateful for a place to go to the bathroom," said Schafer.
Craig Schelter was stranded in his truck outside Hope when a school bus turned up and took him and others to the lodge. He said the experience had been emotional.
"It's been great to see how everybody supported one another," he said.
By late Wednesday, rescuers opened a narrow road to the town, and people were able to start leaving.
That did not include David and Doreen Crozier, who lost everything when Lytton burned down.
"It's been kind of weird, (experiencing) so much all at once," said Doreen.
|David Crozier, an evacuee from Lytton, B.C. goes for a walk outside Camp Hope, where he has lived since fleeing the wildfire that destroyed his home in late June, in Hope, British Columbia, Canada November 19, 2021. Camp Hope also played host to more than 270 stranded travellers between Nov. 14 and Nov 18 after they were trapped when rainstorms caused flooding and landslides that cut off Highway 7. Photo: Reuters
|Delia McLaren holds her dog Diamond in the parking lot of a Tim Hortons where she has been stranded for days after rainstorms caused flooding and landslides near Hope, British Columbia, Canada November 19, 2021. Photo: Reuters
|Lance Valcourt, a traveller who was stranded at Camp Hope for days after rainstorms caused flooding and landslides that cut off Highway 7, shows a photo of the hall where nearly 270 people slept at the lodge near Hope, British Columbia, Canada November 19, 2021. Photo: Reuters