November 19th, 2021

BC State of Emergency: BC Friendship Centres Response to Climate Crises

PDF of Statement

November 19, 2021 – BC Friendship Centres are responding to the current impacts of the climate crises in British Columbia. Catastrophic flooding and landslides have caused widespread damage resulting in the displacement of thousands of people, loss of life, evacuation orders for 62 dairies, and the closure of major highways and railways.
Merritt, BC, is under a citywide evacuation order, resulting in the closure of Conayt Friendship Society. Conayt Friendship Society staff continue to be in touch with clients and community members to support their access to safety, food, and shelter; connecting with Elders to ensure they have what they need and distributing gift cards for supplies and food to community members who have relocated to Kamloops and Kelowna.
Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society and Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society (Kelowna) are providing outreach to an influx of evacuees, responding to challenges accessing food, clothing, shelter and other required resources. 
Mission Friendship Society is responding to a local state of emergency. The Friendship Centre is currently unable to receive food shipments to supply their community food programs. Friendship Centres across the province are responding to the consequential impacts of road closures on food security and resources.
Friendship Centres are actively working with clients and community members in response to challenges around milk supply for infants, shelter for people displaced, food security, and the psychological impacts of the devastation unfolding.
The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) is in communication with the provincial and federal government and community partners to provide information and facilitate solutions to temporary shortages of food, supplies, and shelter.

To donate directly to Friendship Centres:

Conayt Friendship Society (Merritt): Donate by e-transfer to
Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society: Donate through GoFundMe account.
Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society (Kelowna): Donate through CanadaHelps account.
Mission Friendship Society: Donate through CanadaHelps account.
The action, leadership and compassion of Friendship Centre staff in the face of emergency and disaster continues to amaze us. Friendship Centres open their doors to many, provided outreach wherever and whenever they can, and are constantly striving to implement solutions in times of crises.
We are dedicated to supporting each Friendship Centre and their ongoing commitment to taking care of one another. We raise our hands to the staff, community members, farmers, first responders, distribution workers, and health care professionals who are doing all they can to protect and serve their communities at this time.
In solidarity,
Leslie Varley
Executive Director


Provincial state of emergency declared (Government of BC, November 17, 2021)
Current Flooding Information, Nov 18, 2021 (Government of BC)
Alerts for: B.C. Peace River (Government of Canada, November 19, 2021)
Keep Food Safe After a Disaster or Emergency (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
BC Flood Resources for Small Businesses (Small Business BC)