More troops to tackle Que­bec floods

New Straits Times - - World -

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.

REUTERS PIC

Sol­diers plac­ing sand­bags out­side a home in a flooded neigh­bour­hood in Pier­re­fonds, Que­bec, on Sun­day.

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