1996: Saguenay flood forces mass evacuation
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."
In 36 hours, 150 millimetres of rain falls upon the region's cities, towns and villages. The hardest hit are residents in Jonquière, Chicoutimi and La Baie. Eight people are dead.
The region is without electricity and running water, and sewage floats in pools of floodwater. Damages amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Over the past two days residents have been afraid to go to bed, worried that another deluge may sweep their homes. Now they're sleeping in tents or on a gymnasium floor at CFB Bagotville in Chicoutimi.
Premier Lucien Bouchard brings news of a $200-million fund from Quebec's special cabinet meeting, but it's too early to tell when and where the money will come from.
• In total, the disaster brought 280 millimetres of rain, along with violent thunderstorms.
• The bulk of the rains fell between 8 a.m. on July 19 and 10 p.m. on July 20.
• The region's river, lakes and bays swelled above capacity and unprecedented flooding ensued.
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: July 22, 1996
Guest(s): Lucien Bouchard, Marcel Masse
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Ron Charles, Lynne Robson
Last updated: July 22, 2014
Page consulted on September 10, 2014
All Clips from this Topic
Flash flooding, the result of torrential rainfall over the past two da...
Residents sleep in tents and eat in the mess hall at CFB Bagotville.
Stranded Grande Baie residents wait for Canadian Forces helicopters to...
Residents coping with the flood have difficulty applying for compensat...
Nine days after the flood, while people deal with the disaster's reali...
Report on a benefit concert to raise money for the victims of the floo...
Hearing looks to lay blame for Saguenay Flood.
Inquiry head Roger Nicolet says dams and dykes failed.
One year after floodwaters raged through Quebec's Saguenay region, vis...
In Canada's worst flood to date, residents flee their homes for refuge...