Spring floods in Canada's Quebec leave one dead, force evacuations

by Reuters
Monday, 22 April 2019 20:14 GMT

A resident carries his boots as he walks on the flooded street in front of his home in Rigaud, Quebec, Canada April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

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The flooding has so far affected more than 4,000 properties across Quebec

By Julie Gordon

OTTAWA, April 22 (Reuters) - Spring flooding has killed one person and forced nearly 1,700 people from their homes in Canada's Quebec province, with waters expected to continue rising on Monday due to rising temperatures and more rain forecast for the coming days.

Aerial photos showed entire neighborhoods submerged, with television news broadcasting video of residents frantically piling sandbags around their homes to hold back swollen rivers.

An elderly woman died over the weekend after rising waters washed out the road she was driving on, according to media reports.

The flooding has so far affected more than 4,000 properties across Quebec, according to the Urgence Quebec website, including homes in the Montreal suburb of Laval and Gatineau, part of the Ottawa capital region.

The federal government said it is providing disaster response to Quebec, including hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces already deployed to help with sandbagging and other efforts.

"Citizens can rest assured that help will be provided," Canada's Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a statement.

It is the second year of major flooding over the last three in Quebec, following massive spring floods in 2017 that caused more than C$230 million ($172 million) in insured damages in Quebec and neighboring Ontario.

A spokesman for Goodale said it was too soon to compare the scale of flooding to 2017, but noted that the frequency and severity of natural disasters has increased in Canada in recent years due to climate change.

Quebec Premier François Legault said on Monday that his government would provide capped compensation to victims, along with financial incentives for people to move out of flood zones.

"Once people have accumulated some C$100,000 in expenses, we won't compensate them any more. And if it goes beyond that, it will be to offer them to move," he told reporters in Gatineau.

Separate flooding in the east coast province of New Brunswick has also led to evacuations, though waters were expected to peak on Monday, according to local media reports. ($1 = 1.3350 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; editing by James Dalgleish and Sandra Maler)

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