Spring flooding taking a mental, physical toll on victims: public health survey
Published Tuesday, June 6, 2017 8:35AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 6, 2017 3:39PM EDT
The spring flooding has taken its toll both mentally and physically on flood victims, according to a survey released Tuesday by Montreal Public Health.
Up to two-thirds of victims in Montreal said that they suffered from mental health problems as a result. In addition, 35 percent of households reported experiencing physical health problems, such as prolonged coughing and breathing difficulties.
Mental health problems included anxiety, sleep disturbances, or concentration disorders, and were experienced by up to 74 percent of those forced to evacuate their homes.
Disaster victims are close to five times more likely to consider their mental health as fair or poor compared to the general Montreal population, the survey showed.
Montreal Public Health Director Richard Massé said he believes that financial worries are contributing to the anxiety, especially as 75 percent of the respondents said their insurance does not cover the flood damage.
Massé blamed the physical health problems on mould that developed rapidly in homes after the flooding.
At a council meeting in Pierrefonds-Roxboro Monday night, Borough Mayor Jim Beis said there will be a post-mortem to determine methods in which they can improve, repair and prepare.
“Do we need to build any permanent dikes? Do we need to look at storm sewer system? Because we had a phenomenon that we've never seen before where our storm sewers were completely overwhelmed and flooded on Pierrefonds Blvd. and so on and forth. All that has to be looked at,” he said.
Beis said council listened to the residents’ concerns and said he understands their frustrations. Some residents expressed feeling uncertain as to their next step and made a plea to the borough to help.
Beis said his priority is getting people who remain out of their homes back as soon as possible by helping them get in touch with the proper officials at the provincial level and by also getting more inspectors on the ground to help out.
They also discussed infrastructure issues.
In Pierrefonds-Roxboro alone, some 700 homes were affected by the floods. The owners of least 27 of those homes cannot return to them without major renovations. Some homes may even need to be demolished.
With files from The Canadian Press