Extensive flooding in Canada forces evacuations

Updated April 23, 2019


Rigaud (Quebec, Canada): A view of the flooded region from a helicopter. — Reuters
Rigaud (Quebec, Canada): A view of the flooded region from a helicopter. — Reuters

MONTREAL: Flooding in eastern Canada forced the evacuation of more than 1,500 people while over 600 troops have been deployed in response, authorities said on Sunday.

Warming weather over the Easter weekend has brou­­­ght spring floods due to heavy rains and snowmelt from Ontario to southern Quebec and New Brunswick.

Authorities, who initially feared a repeat of catastro­phic 2017 floods in Quebec, the worst in half a century, appeared more confident about the situation.

“We are optimistic about the coming days,” civil security spokesman Eric Houde said. “There will be significant floods but overall not at the level of 2017, except in certain areas like Lake St Pierre,” a widening of the St Lawrence River in Quebec, he added.

“The big difference from 2017 is the level of preparation of municipalities and citizens.” Over the past several days, towns have mobilised volunteers and distributed hundreds of thousands of sandbags to erect barriers or protect houses in threatened areas.

The areas most affected were around Ottawa, and Beauce, a region south of Quebec City where nearly 800 people were evacuated. More than 1,200 homes had been affected by the flooding in Quebec by late Sunday.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2019