Wa­ter world: Cana­di­ans bat­tle flood­ing ev­ery­where

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Thou­sands of Cana­di­ans across the coun­try spent the week­end in a des­per­ate strug­gle with ris­ing flood­wa­ters caused by un­usu­ally per­sis­tent rain­fall.

Que­bec has been hard­est hit, with nearly 1,900 flooded homes in roughly 130 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, from the On­tario bor­der in the west, to the Gaspé Penin­sula.

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

The troops, along with air­craft and 12 boats from the Naval Re­serve, were be­ing po­si­tioned to aid com­mu­ni­ties across Que­bec, sev­eral of which are under a state of emer­gency, it said in a re­lease.

On Sun­day, Mon­treal be­came the lat­est Que­bec city to de­clare a state of emer­gency af­ter three dikes gave way in the Pier­re­fonds-Roxboro bor­ough, in the north end of the city by the Rivières des Prairies.

Cana­dian Forces Capt. Fred­er­ick Lavoie was over­see­ing 35 army re­servists bag­ging sand and help­ing to save houses along the river in Pier­re­fonds.

His men, all from the Mon­treal area, took over from a reg­u­lar forces unit Sun­day morn­ing and “couldn’t wait to get their hands dirty and feet wet,” Lavoie said.

There should be up to 100 re­servists help­ing in the bor­ough by Tues­day, he added.

“We are here to serve the civil­ian power,” Lavoie said. “The main thing we can do is save houses from be­ing flooded. And it’s al­ways good to have peo­ple on the ground to re­as­sure the pop­u­la­tion.”

Mon­treal Mayor De­nis Coderre said about 220 peo­ple in the city had to leave their homes.

He said of­fi­cials were pre­pared to re­move peo­ple if they re­fused to com­ply with evac­u­a­tion or­ders.

“I un­der­stand that morally or psy­cho­log­i­cally, phys­i­cally, men­tally, peo­ple are very, very tried. We’re talk­ing 24 hours in a row of peo­ple help­ing each other,” Coderre told re­porters. “But some­times we need to pro­tect peo­ple from them­selves.”

Coderre said of­fi­cials are warn­ing wa­ter lev­els could rise an­other 20 cen­time­tres in the next 24 hours.

Don­ald McEl­lig­ott was stand­ing out­side his home near the Rivières des Prairies in Pier­re­fonds, where a steady stream of wa­ter was leak­ing out of his garage.

A few feet away, sev­eral large, white bags of sand were act­ing as a dam, block­ing off what used to be the en­trance to the shore of the river.

“Right now I’m wor­ried,” he said. “My wife was born in this house.”

West of Mon­treal, the small town of Ri­gaud is­sued a manda­tory evac­u­a­tion or­der Sun­day and a state of emer­gency has been in place for sev­eral days.

Mayor Hans Gru­en­wald Jr. told re­porters at a town hall that fire­fight­ers will be go­ing door to door to make sure peo­ple in the af­fected ar­eas leave their homes.

“We will fol­low the fire de­part­ment and ac­tu­ally re­move the peo­ple if need be,” Gru­en­wald said. “Be­cause it is ei­ther that or ser­vices will be stuck to re­move those peo­ple under a state of emer­gency at 2 o’clock in the morn­ing on a stretcher — I’m sorry but we are not go­ing to go there.”

Lt.-Col. Pascal Larose said about 400 mem­bers of the Cana­dian Forces were de­ployed be­tween Gatineau and Ri­gaud, and an­other 550 in the Mon­treal area in­clud­ing its north­ern sub­urb of Laval.

Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale said the sit­u­a­tion in On­tario seems to be “gen­er­ally sta­bi­liz­ing,” al­though there are many un­sta­ble lo­cal cir­cum­stances, he said.

Goodale said the On­tario govern­ment had re­quested “emer­gency ma­te­ri­als” to help in its bat­tle against the flood­ing and said that sup­port would be pro­vided.

Rob Kuhn, an En­vi­ron­ment Canada me­te­o­rol­o­gist said eastern On­tario saw the most rain­fall in the prov­ince. He added that up­ward of 80 mil­lime­tres of rain fell be­tween Fri­day and Sun­day morn­ing in the Tren­ton area. In At­lantic Canada, some parts of New Brunswick recorded 150 mil­lime­tres of rain af­ter a nearly 36-hour down­pour.


Mem­bers of a fam­ily are helped with some be­long­ings af­ter their home was evac­u­ated Sun­day in the Mon­treal bor­ough of Pier­re­fonds.


A mil­i­tary vehicle drives along a flooded street Sun­day in Gatineau, Que.

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