Residents who were forced out of their homes in Quebec City's Duberger-Les Saules neighbourhood on Jan. 12 were able to go back Saturday and confront the damage.
Heavy machinery was called in during the week to try to break the ice jam that had caused the nearby St. Charles River to overflow.
Michael Pagé was throwing out pieces of drywall and debris from his basement. He says the water was almost two metres high.
"It pretty much all has to be redone," he said. "We'll have to take down the walls to try and get everything dry in the coming days."
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Another resident, Normand Charbonneau, said he found his garbage bin inside his basement.
"The water smashed through my two basement doors and my garbage can is now in the basement. It's just a mess," he said.
City taking notes
Mayor Régis Labeaume said water levels dropped by over a metre overnight, allowing the removal of the security perimeter. He added that the level of the St. Charles River has also gone back to normal.
"Specialists have said they've never seen anything like this in an urban area," Labeaume said, promising the city would look into the reasons the ice jam formed so quickly and went unnoticed.
"We couldn't know that the flow of the water upstream was so high and that it was going to split through that mini-iceberg," Labeaume said.
The Père-Lelièvre boulevard remains closed to traffic, because a large chunk of ice accumulated underneath. Workers have installed heaters to break up the jam.
Once the bridge passes inspection it will re-open Labeaume said.
Civil security on the ground
Residents who are busy cleaning up the mess left behind will be met by civil security officials over the next few days. Labeaume said emergency financial compensation has already been provided by the province.
Social workers with the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale are also on-site to offer psychological support.
Some people are still not able to sleep at home because of the extent of the damage.