More troops to tackle Quebec floods
MONTREAL: With heavy rains persisting and waters rising over much of waterlogged eastern Canada, the military on Sunday tripled the number of troops urgently working to evacuate thousands of residents.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre declared a state of emergency for his city, allowing authorities to order mandatory evacuations from threatened areas.
“The next 48 hours will be decisive,” Coderre said.
Evacuations were ordered in Pierrefonds, on the northwestern shore of the island of Montreal, after three temporary dikes ruptured, sending water levels surging.
A combination of torrential rains and runoff from melting snow has caused rivers to overflow their banks from Ottawa to here, posing critical challenges for people exhausted by weeks of seemingly unending rainfall.
More than 1,000 people have been evacuated in Quebec province, the largest number coming from Gatineau, near Ottawa, the province’s emergency response unit said on Sunday.
More than 2,000 homes have been flooded and 140 towns and cities affected, with authorities urging residents to evacuate before it is too late.
Besides the areas around here, eight localities declared states of emergency. But Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard warned the worst was yet to come.
“The water will continue rising over the next two or three days,” he said on Saturday after visiting the town of Rigaud, west of Montreal, which has been flooded for more than a week.
Some 450 troops had been dispatched by Saturday to help put sandbags in place and assist with evacuations.
But that number was set to triple by the end of Sunday, including 500 in the Montreal region, 400 in the area between Gatineau and Rigaud to the west, and more than 500 in the Trois-Rivieres region of Montreal, said Lt-Colonel Pascal Larose.
Soldiers placing sandbags outside a home in a flooded neighbourhood in Pierrefonds, Quebec, on Sunday.