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Work to secure Quebec dike continues one week after evacuation over breach fears

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Officials say work is ongoing to stabilize a Quebec dike that was showing signs of failing, forcing hundreds from their homes one week ago.

The situation remains stable and the provincially-owned Morier dike shows no further deterioration since signs of erosion were noticed more than a week ago.

Martin Ferland, an engineer with the province's Environment Department, says efforts are continuing as planned to inspect and stabilize the dike located on the edge of the Kiamika reservoir, roughly 125 kilometres northeast of Ottawa in Quebec's Laurentians region.

Due to the risk of the dike burst, an emergency preventive evacuation order has been in effect for the communities of Chute-Saint-Philippe and Lac-des-Ecorces.

Authorities have said that due to the instability, displaced residents are under an evacuation order until Dec. 17 and Ferland says while work may continue once they do return, that won't happen until the infrastructure is deemed safe.

The dike was built in 1954 and has the capacity to retain 382 million cubic metres of water, the equivalent of more than 100,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

In the event of a breach, officials have said that homes, roads and other infrastructure located downstream could be damaged by flooding or landslides.

About 1,900 properties are under evacuation order and 1,088 people have registered with authorities.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 10, 2023.

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