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Saguenay flood victims camp out in La Baie

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."

Hundreds of mattresses lie on the gymnasium floor at a CFB Bagotville army evacuation camp in La Baie, Que. They are temporary beds for 400 people who have been forced to seek refuge from their flooded homes. The evacuees have brought their dogs and other pets, which roam about the camp. Dinner is served in the mess.

Even though the initial panic is over, some of the evacuees' loved ones remain missing and there is still confusion over how many people have died in the flood.
• The final death toll of the Saguenay flood still remains unclear. Roger Nicolet, flood inquiry head, says the confirmed deaths in the immediate flood region were the two children who died when a mudslide hit their home in La Baie.

• The Quebec government also cites two deaths, while Environment Canada and Canadian Geographic magazine claim 10 died as a result of the flood.

• About 16,000 evacuated their homes during the flood.
• In the four weeks following the disaster, CFB Bagotville served 40,000 meals at its evacuation camp.
Medium: Radio
Program: Morningside
Broadcast Date: July 22, 1996
Guest(s):
Host: Shelagh Rogers
Reporter: Mike Armstrong
Duration: 8:30

Last updated: May 3, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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