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Quebec enlists Canadian Forces in fight against rising floodwaters

Unrelenting rain is worsening a flood crisis in Central Canada that has already forced Quebec to call in military aid.

The Quebec government says the Canadian Forces have been enlisted to help battle the floodwaters in that province, where the storm is most severe.

Four squadrons from CFB Valcartier have been dispatched to the Gatineau, Laval, Rigaud and Mauricie regions. A fifth squadron is expected to set up a command post in Montreal.

In total, between 350 and 400 CF members have been deployed.

Hundreds abandon their homes

More than 130 Quebec communities have been hit by flooding and some 700 people have abandoned their homes.

Environment Canada says a massive system is slowly drenching much of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. Record precipitation levels have threatened to trigger widespread flooding in those areas.

Rainfall advisories were lifted for the large urban areas of Montreal and Toronto early Saturday, but were still in place in eastern Ontario (including Kingston and Ottawa), parts of Quebec and most of New Brunswick. A special weather statement says much of Nova Scotia could see close to 50 millimetres of rain.

Rainfall amounts could top 100 millimetres in Minganie, Que., Natashquan and the eastern tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, and in New Brunswick’s southwest.

Bridge closure

Île Mercier, an island of some 50 people in Montreal, is completely underwater and has been under an evacuation order since Wednesday.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says the city may have to consider forcibly removing the 20 or so householders who have refused to leave.

In Gatineau, Que., near Ottawa, 399 people have been forced out of 219 homes as the Ottawa River rises.

Homeowner Jonathan Brennan told CBC News he’d been working since Monday to prevent his property from being flooded.

“Right now, I had to make a decision between pumping outside of my wall that I made or just take care of my basement,” he said. “Because people didn’t have a chance to prepare, there is old people around, there are abandoned houses … If we had help from the army earlier, probably I wouldn’t be like this right now.

“It’s not that I failed, but I tried so hard. I don’t know what to do anymore.”

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BCNN1 • May 6, 2017

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