The municipalities of Baie-Saint-Paul and Saint-Côme put emergency measures in place on Monday. The floods forced the evacuation of dozens of settlements and damaged their road infrastructure. At least two people are missing.
The municipality of Baie-Saint-Paul sounded the alarm at 12:05 p.m., after heavy rains in the past few hours caused the rivers Gouffre and Mares to overflow. Since then, Route 138 has been closed to traffic, as well as several roads and ranges in the municipality of about 7,300 residents. Bridges were damaged, while trailers at the Le Geneviere campground were swept away by the Rivière des Mares, which also flooded several cabins on the site.
“It’s a disaster, everything is completely destroyed,” laments the owner of the place, Paul Lebe. Throughout the day, he watched a ballet of caravans swept by the current as they crashed under the bridge. “Everything was going well, we had reservations and we were getting ready to welcome campers for the season,” he explained. Then one afternoon, I found 50 years of my life gone. »
“The current was so strong, it tore off trunks, branches. It went all the way up here,” he said. Duty Jean-Sebastien Proulx. He and his parents had to be evicted from their apartment in downtown Pie-Saint-Paul. “The water rose at a tremendous speed,” the shelterer tells relatives rescued by the waves.
Unusual roars echoed through Monday night in Baie-Saint-Paul: the roar of surging rivers and the sound of a large military plane patrolling at low altitude in search of two firefighters swept away by the current. The Sûreté du Québec sent two helicopters to find them during the day. Waste of time: Just before 8 p.m., the police force confirmed that the two were missing near Saint-Urbain, six hours after they were helping affected residents.
In a press conference at the end of the afternoon, Michaël Pilote, mayor of Baie-Saint-Paul, reported “two missing people”, not wanting to confirm that it was about these two firefighters. “What I can say is, these are not Boy-Saint-Paul people,” he said.
By the end of the day, the city of Baie-Saint-Paul was greeted at the Saint-Aubin Education Center, with about fifty people evacuated or unable to return to their homes.
Kimberly Bouchard was preparing to spend the night there with her three children, including one-month-old Briana. Ronald Barrett took advantage of the hot meal offered at the reception center before returning to look at the damage to his building. The residential building, located on the banks of the Gouffre River, was suddenly flooded with “five to six feet of water” in the basement.
The trial comes to crown a trend that has already been halted by upheavals for Lubna Benabid and her three children. Having arrived from Tunisia to study nursing in La Malpai a month and a half ago, she kept smiling despite this new ordeal. Hussain, 11, was to spend the night with the Benabid family. The Gouffre River condemned the two bridges connecting the east and west of Baie-Saint-Paul, and the boy’s parents, trapped on the other side, were unable to reach their son.
“Many residences are at risk of collapsing and being swept away by floodwaters,” Mayor Pilot said, while around 1,000 people were “isolated” on Monday as road links in the municipality were closed. “In the next few hours, we will be able to help other people who need to be evacuated,” the elected official assured.
A boil water advisory was also issued due to a water main break in Baie-Saint-Paul. “Over the next few hours we will be focusing on fixing this leak and we are looking forward to a better functioning waterway network than we currently have,” Mr Pilot said. This notice is applicable to the entire municipality and should be applied for at least the next two days.
Quebec Public Safety Minister François Bonnardel will visit Baie-Saint-Paul Tuesday morning with CAQ MPs Jonathan Julien and Karian Bourassa to learn about the devastation caused by this spring’s floods. Residents of the Capital Region.
#Flood to do @baiesaintpaul : We are in touch with the affected municipalities and are monitoring the situation very closely. @sureteqc is sending its staff to support the community. I will be with my colleagues tomorrow @karianebCAQ & @JulienCAQ
— Francois Bonnardel (@fbonnardelCAQ) May 1, 2023
Additionally, in the Saint-Côme municipality, in Lanaudiere, a dozen roads were closed to traffic on Monday and several residences were evacuated due to flooding. A reception center has been opened to accommodate flood-affected people.
Residents of Domaine du Lac France, located near the Lac King dam, have left because it threatens to give way, said Saint-Côme Mayor Martin Bordeleau, the. Duty. “We have maybe fifty residences that are in areas that are at risk,” he said, because the L’Assomption River’s water level is rising rapidly.
“The damage is very significant,” said Mayor Bordelio, who said several roads and “culverts” were damaged by the flood. The municipality is calling for volunteers to fill sandbags to protect residential areas threatened by this flood.
“We’ve never seen it,” began the resident of Saint-Come, Bernard Baguine, for his part. “We don’t have a street anymore, the rest,” he says, while his house is saved from flooding. “But we have three neighbors near us who are completely flooded. »
The municipalities of Chertsey and Sainte-Émélie-de-l’Énergie also declared a state of emergency on Monday, as several residences in their territory were quarantined due to rising waters.
With Sébastien Tanguay in Baie-Saint-Paul
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