Newspaper article The Canadian Press

More Troops Deployed as Flood Situation Improves Gradually in Quebec

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

More Troops Deployed as Flood Situation Improves Gradually in Quebec

Article excerpt

Flooding situation slowly improving in Quebec


MONTREAL - As water levels in Quebec showed signs of dropping slightly Tuesday, authorities urged people to be patient and warned the situation will not return to normal for several weeks.

"The situation won't improve overnight," said Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux. "It will happen on a very gradual basis. We have major flooding in several areas and, gradually, the floods will become average and then minor."

Coiteux cautioned that Quebecers must be realistic and realize things will not return to normal until at least late this month or early June.

Meanwhile, the number of soldiers helping municipal and provincial officials in flood-battered parts of the province rose to 1,730 from 1,650, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in Ottawa.

Earlier, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the federal government will pay for the military-related costs.

"When Canadians are facing natural disasters or serious issues, we pull together, that's who we are," Trudeau said.

"Quebec and Ontario asked for military support and we're happy to give it and of course the federal government will assume all the costs related to support for Quebec and Ontario in these floods."

As of Tuesday, heavy rains and melting snowpack had resulted in 2,733 flooded residences in Quebec and forced the evacuation of 1,940 people in 171 municipalities.

The floods claimed at least one life in the province -- Mike Gagnon, 37, whose car ended up in the surging Ste-Anne River in the eastern Gaspe region.

Police were still searching Tuesday for a two-year-old girl who disappeared with him.

Provincial police Sgt. Claude Doiron said authorities searched the shore but that the water was choppy and full of debris.

One of the hardest hit communities in the province was Montreal-area Deux-Montagnes, where some people used canoes to get around Tuesday.

James Taylor borrowed his friend's and said he was acting like a water taxi, bringing people around to check on their homes.

Taylor said he felt a bit guilty that his house was dry and that his neighbours were suffering.

He believes municipal authorities in his town and others could have warned residents earlier that water levels were going to rise in order to give people more time to prepare.

"Local authorities knew what parts of the town were more vulnerable than others," Taylor said, adding residents had to make tough decisions when they banded together to bag sand and rescue people. …

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