Floods: Mauricie region to get worse before it gets better
Published Thursday, May 11, 2017 9:00AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 7, 2017 9:28AM EDT
The Mauricie region is expected to be the hardest hit in the coming days as the flooding continues across the province.
In a Thursday morning news conference, Environment Minister David Heurtel said the region along Lake St-Pierre near Trois-Rivieres could be getting up to 59 millimetres of rain by next Monday.
That, added to the snow melt, high tides and winds, will make for a difficult situation, Heurtel said, speaking from Trois-Rivieres.
Five reservoirs in the region will work to contains the waterflow, but there are concerns Rte. 55/155 could flood.
“We’re looking at a rise, but not a substantial rise,” said Heurtel “We’re hoping for just a small rise.”
Prime MInister Justin Trudeau and Premier Philippe Couillard surveyed flood zones from the air on Thursday.
They said Canadians will, unfortunately, have to learn to prepare to deal with flooding and other extreme weather events in the future.
"As we look to rebuild our communities, our homes, our infrastructures we're going to have to think about what we can do to rebuild better,' said Trudeau.
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said that right now, residents in the Mauricie have to get ready
“We have to pay particular attention to Lake St. Pierre and the Mauricie. The situation will stay high until the middle of next week,” he said.
Cono Neri lives in Yamachiche, a community west of Trois Rivieres on the shore of Lake St. Pierre.
He said residents have been dealing with flooding for the past month, but Neri gave up two weeks ago.
"I have an extension, which is called a porte-à-faux, and that extension we felt the waves underneath, because the waves are coming in from the lake and when the waves were hitting the bottom of this and we felt the up and down, so I said let's get out of here. It's dangerous," said Neri.
Coiteux said the number of army soldiers in that region has practically doubled to 500 on the ground, but soldiers admit they won't be able to stop the flooding.
"With the amount of water what we can do is help but we cannot prevent flooding of all the houses or every area," said Lt. Col Francis Poitras.
SQ spokesperson Jimmy Potvin said SQ officers patrolling on roads and by boat said there have been no reports of theft or other illegal activity in evacuated homes.
Coiteux’s Thursday morning update across the province:
- 173 municipalities affected by flooding
- More than 4,000 homes affected
- More than 3,000 people have evacuated their homes
- 544 roads have been closed
- 2,200 soldiers are on the ground
As for the rest of the province, the situation is either the status quo or seeing an improvement.
In Gatineau, the water flows for the Ottawa River basin are continuing their decrease. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Philippe Couillard toured the region by helicopter after making an appeal to Canadians to dig deep to donate to flood relief.
In Two Mountains, the water level has dropped by 20 centimetres
Lake St. Louis will maintain the status quo through Monday.
“The upcoming rains will slow down the decrease but will not have an impact,” said Heurtel.
In Pierrefonds, Montreal fire Chief Bruno Lachance said morale continues to be high among first responders from the fire department, Montreal police and Montreal blue collar workers, calling it "truly a team effort."
Like Lake St. Louis, Lachance said the upcoming rain forecasted in Pierrefonds should not have any impact.
"There will be some rain, but it’s not going to raise the water level," he said.
Lachance said workers are patrolling the flood zones 24/7 to ensure people are safe and the homes are secure.
He also advised homeowners against going back to their home until it is safe to do so, reminding them there is mould and other issues to be concerned with.
“There are some dangers in the houses – there’s electricity, there’s gas lines. We don’t want people to be in danger. We’re going to help them to go back in their houses what the time will come. For the moment, the water is still high, so we’re still in an emergency state.” He said.
Some 400 soldiers have been tasked with building a new dam in the Pierefonds-Roxboro to help mitigate the water levels.
As for the Gaspesie, the situation remains as uncertain as the weather.
“It’s too soon to talk about being completely out of the woods because it’s too soon to talk about how the weather system will impact the region,” said Heurtal.
Coiteux reminded Quebecers that many mental health workers have been deployed in flood-hit regions to speak with those affected and that Quebecers should make use of those resources.
He also said that claims are being processes immediately. He said municipalities are holding information sessions and resources centres to provide quick assistance.
So far, $800,000 has been handed out and 724 files have been opened. Money is being given to victims immediately for urgent needs, including costs for sandbags and equipment to diminish flooding, costs for accommodations.
He encouraged flood victims to go to the Financial Assistance to Disaster Relief website or call 1-877-644-4545.
Saying it’s not a “closed envelope,” Coiteux explained that the will provide financial support to victims, again reminding citizens to donate to the Red Cross Flood Relief Fund.
People can also donate by calling 1-800-418-1111 or at Metro, Super C, Rona, Banque Nationale and Caisse Desjardins.