VICTORIA _ The British Columbia government will spend $80 million this year in emergency programs, up from the $65 million it spent last year.
Naomi Yamamoto, minister of state for emergency preparedness, says $32 million will go to the Union of B.C. Municipalities to establish a fund that supports disaster response and recovery programs, including mapping evacuation routes.
She says the government will provide $10 million to numerous public safety groups, including Vancouver’s heavy urban search and rescue team, to support skills training and purchase equipment.
Yamamoto says the $80 million comes from the government’s budget surplus and money in its emergency preparedness fund.
She says spending in community emergency programs will help the province cope with floods, fires and earthquakes.
Bill Adams of the Insurance Bureau of Canada says there are estimates that a major earthquake in southern B.C. could cause damage valued at $75 billion.