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Successful flood clean-up in Quebec


Serious flooding south of Montreal. Photo courtesy S.O.S Richelieu
Serious flooding south of Montreal. Photo courtesy S.O.S Richelieu

Jill Colton and Andrea Stockton, staff writers

June 15, 2011 — A massive volunteer flood clean-up in Quebec has gone so well that it's expected to finish ahead of schedule.

Residents overwhelmed by the high water levels this spring
Residents overwhelmed by the high water levels this spring

The first round of volunteers arrived in the Richelieu Valley last weekend to assist in the daunting flood clean-up.

Local residents and visitors took matters into their own hands and have been extremely successful with the task. Another 3,000 volunteers were expected to arrive on Saturday, but leaders with the S.O.S Richelieu volunteer group say, only about 700 of those people will be needed to finish the job by the weekend.

Military personnel remain on standby as well, as their assistance to remove debris and sandbags may not be required.

The main objectives involved in the clean-up were to remove the mess as soon as possible and provide relief for affected residents.

Thousands of homes and businesses were damaged by water levels considered to be the highest in over a century. A mandatory evacuation was ordered at the time and many people still haven't been able to return home.

Several homes and businesses were completely washed out
Several homes and businesses were completely washed out

The flooding itself began nearly two months ago, when the Richelieu River burst its banks due in part to heavy rains and a large snowmelt.

“I've only lived here for five years, in the area of Saint Jean, and from neighbours that have been living here longer, they said this is the worst they've seen in over 20 years,” said Quebec resident Sean Moore.

Many people completely lost their homes and others have a long road of repairs ahead.

“The basement is all destroyed,” said St-Jean-sur-Richelieu resident Nadine Galipeau. “So we have lost my daughter's room and the living room,” she added.

The Quebec government has said it will offer financial assistance to communities affected by the floods. Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently toured the Quebec flood zone and spoke with those impacted by the floods as well.

For more information on the S.O.S Richelieu project please visit their Facebook page.

With files from The Canadian Press and Lyndsay Morrison

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