Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Some Quebec Flood Victims Preparing to Spend Christmas in Hotel Rooms

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Some Quebec Flood Victims Preparing to Spend Christmas in Hotel Rooms

Article excerpt

Some Quebec flood victims still in hotels

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MONTREAL - All Tauseef Bhatti wants for the holidays is a permit to rebuild his home.

The Montreal-area resident, his wife and their four children are one of several families who are still living in hotel rooms ever since flood waters swept through their home last spring.

More than six months after the floods, the family of six is living in two hotels rooms at a Holiday Inn as they wait for the provincial government to decide whether their home has sustained too much damage to repair.

"There's no privacy, it's very uncomfortable, no place to study," Bhatti, whose house is in Ile-Bizard, said in a phone interview. "Nothing is normal, everything is so crazy."

When the flooding began, the family was able to keep the water at bay with pumps at first, only to be overwhelmed by a second rush of water that came "like a tsunami out of nowhere" a few days later.

It surged so fast the family had to call 911 to be evacuated as water rushed up through the basement and across the first floor.

Now, he's still waiting to see if he'll be allowed to return home.

"The fact that we are seven months in this situation and still there is no clear answer of if or when we'll be able to get back to our homes, to rebuild our lives, that's the scariest part," he said.

Bhatti's family is one of several who are still living in hotels after the flood waters raced through 278 towns and forced some 4,000 people from their homes.

At the height of the crisis, more than 2,400 families received emergency assistance from the Red Cross in the form of hotel lodging, food and clothing, while 5,498 families received financial assistance.

A spokeman for the Red Cross said the organization was still providing assistance to 150 families, but could not confirm how many of those were receiving housing.

Eight per cent of 452 flood victims surveyed by the the provincial government in November reported they were still not back in their homes. …

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