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Dam threatens to burst in the Laurentians, residents evacuated from homes

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People living in Chute-Saint-Philippe and Lac-des-Écorces in the Laurentians are being asked to evacuate their homes due to potential infrastructure issues at the Kiamika dam and Morier dike.

Municipal officials insist that all 563 residents who live along the Kiamika River must leave their homes, as first reported by Noovo Info.

"Do not waste any time," states a Facebook notice by the municipality of Chute-Saint-Philippe. "Leave your home immediately."

Residents were invited to seek refuge at the Centre sportif Jacques-Lesage (801 Alix Street) in Mont-Laurier.

"You will be given more detailed information on site," the notice adds. "Be aware that you will not have access to your home for the next five days and we will keep you informed of developments at all times."

Quebec Public Security Department spokesperson Joshua Ménard-Suarez says all 563 evacuees were able to stay with friends, family or in hotels and did not require the shelter.

Quebec Public Security Minister François Bonnardel says he is "monitoring the situation closely," and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) is on the ground.

Authorities say they suspect the problem may be caused by erosion inside the Morier dike, and inspectors are already on site to perform possible repairs.
 
Government inspectors found structural weaknesses in the Morier dike during a recent visit, said Ménard-Suarez, adding that they will require a minimum of five days.

The region affected by the evacuation order encompasses the entire area between the Kiamiki reservoir, Lac des Écorces and Lac Gauvin.

According to the Quebec Environment Ministry, the Morier dike was built in 1954.

It has a surface area of 4,248 hectares and a retention capacity of 382,000,000 m3, the equivalent of more than 100,000 Olympic swimming pools.

Chute Saint-Philippe, a village of just over 1,000 inhabitants on Route 331, is a 30-minute drive from Mont-Laurier.

Lac-des-Écorces, with a population nearing 3,000, is located at the junction of routes 311 and 117. 

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