Saturday , December 16 2017

More troops deployed as Canada braces for worse fl ooding

Canadian soldiers fill sandbags in Luskville, Quebec, on May 7. Troops were deployed to the Pontiac region of Quebec due to heavy flooding. (AP)

With heavy rains persisting and waters still rising over much of waterlogged eastern Canada, the nation’s military on Sunday tripled the number of troops urgently working to evacuate thousands of residents. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre declared a state of emergency for his city, allowing authorities to order mandatory evacuations from threatened areas.

“The next 48 hours will be decisive,” Coderre told reporters. Evacuations were ordered in Pierrefonds, on the northwestern shore of the island of Montreal, after three temporary dikes ruptured, sending water levels surging. A combination of torrential rains and runoff from melting snow has caused rivers to overflow their banks from Ottawa to Montreal, posing critical challenges for people already exhausted by weeks of seemingly unending rainfall.

More than 1,000 people have been evacuated in Quebec province, the largest number coming from Gatineau, near Ottawa, the province’s emergency response unit said Sunday. More than 2,000 homes have been flooded and 140 towns and cities affected, with authorities urging residents to evacuate before it is too late.

In addition to Montreal, eight localities declared states of emergency. But Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard warned the worst was yet to come. “The water will continue rising over the next two or three days,” he said Saturday after visiting the town of Rigaud, west of Montreal, which has been flooded for more than a week. (AFP)

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