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Flash floods kill two in Saguenay

For two days in July 1996, torrential rains pounded the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec and caused the worst flood in the province's history. The floodwaters were so powerful they swept away a whole shopping complex, ripped apart homes and buried cars under mud. Scientists said it was a natural disaster likely to happen once every 10,000 years. The government called it "an act of God."

Flash flooding, the result of torrential rainfall over the past two days, has taken the lives of two children in Quebec's Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. The body of a woman has also been found and five other people are missing as several dams threaten to spill over. A sailboat with three passengers who sent out a distress signal from the mouth of the Saguenay River yesterday is still missing.

So far about 1,000 residents without water, electricity or telephone service have evacuated their homes with the help of police and the Canadian Forces. Authorities say many more evacuations will follow.
• The Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region's reservoirs were already full from spring's heavy rainfall.
• Geologists refer to the region as a "graben," which is a depression of the earth's surface between faults. This depression, coupled with the area's many rivers and lakes, makes it a natural spot for flooding.
• The region is made up of over 50 cities, towns and villages, the larger of which are Alma, La Baie, Chicoutimi and Jonquière.
Medium: Radio
Program: The World This Weekend
Broadcast Date: July 20, 1996
Host: Bernie McNamee
Reporter: Mike Armstrong
Duration: 1:57

Last updated: September 11, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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