Hundreds of Canadian troops deployed to flood zones in Quebec and N.B.
|Toronto Star 21 Apr 2019 at 14:26|
MONTREAL—Quebec Premier Francois Legault is visiting flood-damaged regions north of Montreal today, as warm temperatures and rising water levels threaten to worsen the spring flooding already wreaking havoc across a wide region.
Legault was set to visit a community centre and flooded homes on an island in the Laval region, where Canadian Forces troops are expected to join the efforts to limit the damage. The city says it could receive another 20 to 40 millimetres of rain in the coming days.
Many people across Quebec and New Brunswick have been filling sandbags in an effort to protect their homes. Officials say water levels are expected to rise in many regions due to warming temperatures that contribute to snowmelt and ice movement.
About 200 soldiers started filling sandbags and carrying out evacuations in Quebec’s Outaouais and Mauricie regions overnight, with an additional 400 troops standing ready to deploy there and in Laval on Sunday.
Urgence Quebec says that as of Sunday morning, 980 residences across the province had been flooded and more than 1,200 people had left their homes.
Several major floods have been identified as threatening thousands of Quebecers, and so far one death has been blamed on the high water.
Soldiers deploying to flood-prone areas as N.B. water levels rise
Police say 72-year-old Louise Seguin Lortie died Saturday morning after driving her car into a sinkhole caused by flooding in the Pontiac area, about 30 kilometres northwest of Ottawa.
Some of the worst flooding has been in the Beauce region south of Quebec City, where 883 homes were swamped and 765 people evacuated, up from 94 on Saturday.
Quebec’s public safety minister has urged citizens in affected areas to avoid unnecessary risks and to leave their homes if necessary.
On Ile Bigras, off the southeast edge of Laval, about two dozen soldiers unloaded a truck full of sandbags on Sunday as they worked to reinforce a concrete barrier only metres from the rushing river.
Public affairs officer Pierre Leblanc said the army’s priority would be filling and stacking sandbags and protecting critical infrastructure near the river, which he said was rising about one centimetre each hour.
He said some 600 soldiers had been deployed across the province, including about 200 in the Laval area.
Near the entrance to the island, several roads were closed due to flooding and one home appeared partially surrounded by water, as small waves lapped at a picnic bench and a “For Sale” sign on the lawn.
Meanwhile, about 120 Canadian soldiers are being deployed across western New Brunswick to help residents threatened by rising floodwaters.