By Juliet Linderman, CNN • Updated 3rd May 2018
Hundreds of mudslide and flood victims have been rescued by helicopter in the British Columbia foothills of the Cascades Mountains since heavy rain began falling there last week.
Twenty people remain unaccounted for in Fort St. James, according to BC Gov. John Horgan, but more rescues are underway.
“We don’t know where they are. It’s possible that they’re in a higher level of the community, they’re in a different location that they were in previously,” the governor said.
“We’re going to do our best to reach them.”
The rescue effort was triggered on April 27 when flash floods caused by a rainstorm suddenly submerged streets, engulfed houses and swept through creeks in the province’s mountainous interior.
Hundreds of evacuees have already been brought back to their homes, including 233 overnight in two evacuation centers.
Volunteers from the Kelowna wildfire district, Canadian Coast Guard and RCMP have joined the rescue effort in light of the unseasonably wet weather conditions that have hit the province.
Authorities said the rain that has battered the region contributed to an avalanche that struck and damaged the North Thompson Highway on Saturday afternoon.
The road remains closed due to rockslides and safety concerns, while skiers, snowboarders and other residents in the area continue to seek alternative routes around the landslide.
Canada’s environment minister, Catherine McKenna, tweeted Monday night that the rain “has the potential to make the avalanche worse.”