October 3, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

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People missing after street collapse in Rivière-Eternité

People missing after street collapse in Rivière-Eternité

Three to four people were missing in violent storms in Rivière-Éternité in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean on Saturday afternoon.

Following heavy rains, three vehicles were washed away when a road collapsed in the municipality, explains the spokesman for the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), Hugues Beaulieu.

One person was rescued and taken to Chicoutimi Hospital in critical condition.

A helicopter, divers, quad riders, walkers and a ground search intervention team are being used by the SQ to help locate missing persons and assist the municipality, notes Sergeant Beaulieu.

At the beginning of the evening, the spokesman still did not specify which street in the municipality collapsed, but it was “not Route 170, but another small road in the municipality”.

According to the Transport Department’s website, the 170-lane at km 83 has been closed since 2:39 pm due to a landslide. On Twitter, the ministry noted by late afternoon that “machinery is already in place to partially reconnect Route 170.”

state of emergency

The municipality of Rivière-Eternité, which has about 400 residents, declared a state of emergency on Saturday evening.

In a press release issued at 8 p.m., it noted that evacuations were carried out in the afternoon and that others were expected.

“Heavy rains cause road closures, landslides and power outages on Principal Street, Sainte-Thérèse Street in Fjord-du-Saguenay National Park,” we read.

The entire area between Saguenay and Tadoussac was under a hurricane warning at noon Saturday. Heavy thundershowers lashed the area.

Environment Canada maintains its thunderstorm watch for Saturday evening.

“Conditions are favorable for the development of a severe thunderstorm tonight that will produce very strong winds, large hail and heavy rain,” Environment Canada warns, as of 9:30 p.m.

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Andrée Laforest, minister responsible for the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region and deputy minister for Chicoutimi, who was on site, recommended the evacuation of about 400 people living in Rivière-Éternité.

“There are many more places to check. There are some landslides. We therefore recommend that citizens head towards L’Anse-Saint-Jan […] Or towards Saint-Félix-d’Otis,” he says.

Two service centers for disaster victims are Petite école de L’Anse-Saint-Jean and Center des loisirs de Saint-Félix-d’Otis, two neighboring municipalities in MRC Le Fjord-du-Saguenay.

The city of Saguenay plans to open “a shelter center to house evacuees due to the damage seen in Bas-Saguenay,” the city said in a press release Saturday evening.

The establishment of the center, which is intended to accommodate 250 people, was based on the request of the Ministry of Public Security.

“The process of setting up the said accommodation center is underway and will be able to accommodate displaced people in Rivière-Eternité and/or other municipalities”, we read.

The municipality of Rivière-Eternité notes that the water in the network is not potable and that service has been interrupted in some places. According to Hydro-Québec’s Info-Panes site, residents of Saint-Thérese Street and the surrounding area are also without power.

MP for Chicoutimi – Le Fjord, Richard Martel, is also on site. On that day His Facebook page, he writes: “Many houses were evacuated. Tonight will be a critical moment, heralding heavy rain and thunderstorms. »

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