Hundreds allowed to return home in Sainte-Marthe, but they won't have water or power

Authorities partially lifted an evacuation order that has been in place since Saturday, when a dike holding back the swollen Lake of Two Mountains failed.

For those in hardest-hit areas of off-island suburb, future is less certain

A resident surveys the scene in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, a portion of which was reopened to residents on Tuesday. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Evelyne Fillion and her mother spent the night in a Honda Fit with their dog.

They may not be able to return to their home in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Que., for at least one month.

"I don't know what to do, really," she said, explaining that she chose not to take take refuge in a shelter because her dog doesn't get along with other pets.

Fillion said her mother's reduced mobility has made things even more difficult.

"It's really hard. We do what we can," she said. "We don't have a lot, but we work with what we have."

Fillion is not among those who were allowed to return home Tuesday afternoon.

Evelyne Fillion, her mother and her dog all slept in their Honda Fit last night, and are not sure what they are going to do now that their home is flooded. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Authorities partially lifted an evacuation order that has been in place since Saturday, when a dike holding back the swollen Lake of Two Mountains failed.

The residents allowed to return, however, still won't have power or potable water — and are being encouraged to still stay away. 

There's no timeline for when those in the hardest-hit areas will be able to go home.

Mayor Sonia Paulus said authorities are working to push the water out of neighbourhoods and back toward the lake.

"We installed 32 pumps on the other side of the temporary dikes," she said.

Ducks explore a flooded neighbourhood in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Que., on Sunday. Water levels are down enough in some sectors that residents are allowed to return home Tuesday. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

The evacuation order was lifted in areas that include homes east of 21th Avenue, south of Oka Road, west of 30th Avenue and in the sector between 32th and 45th avenues.

It is still in effect in the harder-hit sections, between 22th and 29th avenues, south of Louise Street..

Gianfranco Galardo, who lives on Louise Street just steps from the flood zone, said he is sad to see so many of his neighbours suffering.

"It's very sad watching all the neighbours and people we know being evacuated and losing all their stuff," he said. 

Looking back, it was a hectic weekend.

"It was surreal," he said. "It was actually very scary."

Gianfranco Galardo was out talking to rescue officials Tuesday, trying to get an update on the situation. It's hard to see so many of his neighbours suffering, he says. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

There were helicopters in the air, army vehicles rolling by, sirens and loudspeakers. One neighbour, he said, was desperate to get back to his home to retrieve cancer medication and clothes.

"They didn't have time to get anything," he said. "And some people were out for the day and when they came back, they couldn't access their houses."

With files from Kate McKenna


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