Flood-hit Canadian province limits fuel

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British Columbia has imposed restrictions on fuel and non-essential travel to ease supply disruptions and support recovery work after floods and mudslides destroyed roads, houses and left thousands stranded in the western Canadian province.

The orders, announced on Friday by Deputy Premier Mike Farnworth, limits people in some areas, including the Vancouver Island, to 30 litres of fuel per visit to a petrol station until December 1.

Non-essential travel along severely affected highways will also be prohibited.

"These orders will help keep commercial traffic moving, stabilise our supply chains and make sure everyone gets home safely," Farnworth said.

The storms, which started on Sunday, forced the closure of the Trans Mountain pipeline and cut two critical east-west rail lines owned by Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway Co that lead to Canada's busiest port of Vancouver, impeding the supply of fuel and goods.

Farnworth said the province was also working with the federal government to import fuel via alternative ways including by truck and barge from the United States or neighbouring Alberta.

Hours before the restrictions were announced, the flood-battered province received some good news when CP said work to repair damaged infrastructure would continue non-stop and service should be restored in the middle of next week.

The Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries up to 300,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Alberta province to the Pacific coast, also said it was "optimistic" it could restart the pipeline in some capacity by the end of next week.

The disaster looks set to be the costliest natural disaster to ever hit Canada.

The railway shutdowns have left exporters of commodities scrambling to divert shipments away from Vancouver.

Water pumps are still working flat out in the city of Abbotsford to the east of Vancouver. If they fail, officials say all 160,000 residents may have to leave.

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