Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Reinforcements to help battle Quebec floods

By The Canadian Press   

Headlines News

May 8, 2017, Montreal - With water levels still rising, additional Canadian military personnel have been deployed in Quebec's vast flood zone to help exhausted residents battle the unrelenting deluge.

Quebec has been devastated, with nearly 1,900 flooded homes in roughly 130 municipalities, from the Ontario border in the west, to the Gaspe peninsula -- and there's still no relief in sight.

The province's environment minister called the flooding historic on Monday, saying it was the result of a harsh winter followed by heavy rains in April and May.

But David Heurtel said there were "encouraging signs" in the Outaouais region, where water levels were rising more slowly than before.

Quebec's public safety minister, Martin Coiteux, said the flooding is expected to hit its peak over the next few days and begin receding mid-week.

National Defence said approximately 800 additional troops were deployed in the province on Sunday, joining more than 400 Canadian Armed Forces members already assisting with the flood effort.

The troops, along with aircraft and a dozen boats are aiding communities across Quebec, several of which are under states of emergency.

Quebec provincial police said the severe flooding has strained their resources, with officers patrolling on the ground, in boats and from the air.

A spokesman urged residents to stay away from heavily flooded areas after a 37-year-old man and two-year-old girl were swept away into the Sainte-Anne River while trying to drive across a non-passable stretch of road. Officers are continuing to search for the missing pair.

Montreal declared a state of emergency Sunday after three dikes collapsed in the north end of the city by the Rivieres des Prairies.

Mayor Denis Coderre said about 220 residents had been evacuated and that officials were prepared to remove any people who ignored evacuation orders.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited a flood-affected area in Terrasse-Vaudreuil, just west of Montreal on Sunday where he talked to weary, anxious residents and was photographed filling a sandbag.

In Gatineau, Que., near the border with Ontario, 380 residences were evacuated, and some federal employees were advised not to go to work on Monday because of the flooding.

Some parts of eastern Ontario have also been hit hard by flooding, and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the federal government was responding to a request from the Ontario government for "additional flood mitigation resources."

Goodale noted the request did not include military help.

In Atlantic Canada, some parts of New Brunswick recorded more than 150 millimetres of rain after a nearly 36 hour non-stop downpour. And while the deluge tapered off early Sunday, New Brunswick's St. John River had spilled its banks, forcing several road closures.

Meanwhile in British Columbia, two men remained missing as flooding continued to plague province's Interior.

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