It has been a long road back from a near-death experience for Amber Blair and her family.
After a landslide destroyed their Sunnybrae home as well as that of their landlord next door on April 7, Blair and her son Ryley were left shaken but unharmed.
The fact that Blair and Ryley were not seriously injured is surprising given the wall of debris that roared down the slope above their house with sufficient force to knock their house off its foundation.
Ryley, Blair and her husband Darin who was not home at the time of the landslide, have found a new house in Salmon Arm and replaced many of their lost possessions with help from the community.
“From everyone who came together we were basically able to build a new home,” Blair said.
Donations provided the family with furniture, kitchen equipment and other necessities.
“All the basics were there for us. It was quite a relief.”
On June 9, the family were finally allowed to return to the house, which had been guarded to prevent looting, so they could attempt to salvage belongings. They were given a four hour window to do so.
“Of course it didn’t take us four hours because the structure of the house was so damaged and full of mud and all that rain. We managed to get a few pictures, a few family pictures and some clothes and that was it,” Blair said.
Blair and her family filed for disaster financial assistance through Emergency Management BC, but have not heard back from them yet.
Some things lost in the landslide cannot be replaced, particularly the family’s dog, which died in the slide.
Despite this, Blair says the family is coping with the disaster.
“We’re OK. I think we’re still mourning the death of our dog. It’s been hard but we’ve got the cat,” she said. “At least we have each other – that’s the main thing.”
Blair says she is grateful for the help the family received in the difficult days following the landslide
“I just want to say thank you to our community and everyone — family and friends for how much support they’ve given us. That’s really the important part. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to get through this as well as we have.”