Quebec officials preach patience as water levels drop in parts of province – Montreal

Though water levels are gradually starting to go down in parts of western Quebec, officials are warning it may be awhile before things are truly back to normal for Quebec flood victims.

The latest numbers released on Tuesday evening by Urgence Québec show 3,882 homes are flooded — a jump of more than 1,000 from the day before. Some 2,721 people have been forced from their homes.

Around the province, 126 landslides have also been reported as of Wednesday. 

Both Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux have expressed hope that, weather permitting, water levels will be back to normal by month’s end.

In an update Wednesday, Coiteux warned that the return home will “not be tomorrow,” but compensation will be available when that time comes to help cope with the damage.

Public meetings are being organized in municipalities across the province to explain what compensation is available and how to make a claim.

In the meantime, rescue and support operations are continuing “and everyone is mobilized,” Coiteux said.

Brian Lauder surveys the water lapping at the dike he built around his home in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, west of Montreal. (Charles Constant / CBC)

Among the government ministries taking part in the operation, Coiteux said Quebec’s ministry of health and social services is taking on an increasingly important role.

“Given the large number of people affected by the floods, psycho-social assistance is becoming more and more important,” he said. 

“That help is present in each municipality and citizens shouldn’t hesitate to seek their help.”

Quebec residents with questions about psycho-social services can call 811 and speak with a health professional.

Flood victims who want to make a claim for compensation can call the province at 1-888-643-2433.

More rain on its way

The forecast may cause more problems in some areas, officials said Wednesday.

Between 20 millimetres and 40 millimetres of rain is expected this weekend, and more rain is expected over the next two weeks, Environment Minister David Heurtel.

With water levels in the Ottawa River and Lake of Two Mountains beginning to drop, Heurtel said the new rains may slow the decrease but shouldn’t produce new flooding in western Quebec. 

Liz Smart gets a ride from James Taylor as she goes to check out her house Tuesday in Deux-Montagnes, Que. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

However, the coming rain is a concern in the province’s Mauricie region, where it is expected to raise the water level in Lac Saint-Pierre.

The lake, a widening of the St. Lawrence River west of Trois-Rivières, is already dealing with high tides that have flooded parts of the shoreline. A state of emergency was declared Wednesday in the municipality of Yamachiche on the north shore of Lac Saint-Pierre. 

Quebec’s north received the equivalent of a “winter and a half’s worth of snow,” Heurtel noted, and the impact of that is still being…

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