Flooding from the spring thaw and rain has affected more than 2,300 homes in Quebec and 1,200 residents have been evacuated, according to the latest numbers by Urgence Québec.
Soldiers across the province were filling and stacking sandbags as officials warned floodwaters are likely to keep rising this week due to warming temperatures, combined with rain.
Hundreds of volunteers and municipal workers are also working to protect properties.
Urgence Québec said Sunday there were five major floods affecting residents, including in the Montreal region, where officials are keeping a close eye on Mille-Îles River and the Rivière-des-Prairies — stacking sandbags and building makeshift dikes.
Many roads are closed and evacuations were in progress Monday morning in Quebec’s Beauce region, where the Chaudière River is expanding beyond its banks at about 20 to 25 cm per hour.
In downtown Sainte-Marie, more than 900 homes have been affected. Parked cars were submerged in some areas and boats were used to rescue residents trapped in their homes.
In Scott, streets were closed and the city centre has been paralyzed. Two hundred residences were evacuated Sunday morning. Mayor Clément Marcoux said he doesn’t recall the flooding ever being this serious.
As he surveyed the situation Sunday, Premier François Legault indicated the province may begin offering incentives for people to move out of flood plains because flooding ends up costing taxpayers every year.
“If we have to force people to move, we will have to do it.”
Canadian Red Cross launches fundraiser
The Canadian Red Cross, with a website open for donations, has launched a disaster relief fund to add to provincial help for residents.
Money from the online fundraiser will help residents rebuild their homes, said Pascal Mathieu, vice-president of the Red Cross in Quebec.
Red Cross relief centres have been set up in Gatineau, Laval, Montreal’s Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough, Rigaud, Saint-André d’Argenteuil and Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce.
“The authorities have said there are already hundreds of people affected and the water continues to rise,” said Mathieu.
“We know that among the families affected, there are those who really need additional help.”
Approximately 4,000 volunteers have been trained to offer comfort and lodging and provide food for those in need, and refer people to social services.
Volunteers in red jackets have been deployed for a week in Beauceville. Others are in Lévis, Saint-Raymond, Gatineau, Rigaud, Laval and Pierrefonds-Roxboro.
This story originally appeared on CBC