Flood victims in Montreal prepare to go home, apply for financial aid

While water levels continue to recede across the province, flood victims are flocking to information sessions about the Quebec government's compensation program.

Canadian Forces will stay in Quebec as water levels continue to decline

Hundreds crammed into an arena in Montreal's West Island for a government information session. (Melissa Francois/Radio-Canada)

Frustration and exhaustion boiled over in a hockey arena in Dollard-des-Ormeaux this afternoon, where hundreds of flood victims gathered to learn about the next steps they need to take and what kind of compensation they are entitled to.

Some residents say local authorities and emergency crews were too slow to act when water levels continued to rise.

"The fire department came to my house after midnight, around 2:30 in the morning, because my house almost caught on fire because the water was just coming in," said Rowan McKenzie.

Firefighters walk through a flooded street as the water starts to recede Friday, May 12, 2017 in Deux-Montagnes. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

"They left no pumps, they wouldn't help, they decided there was 'nothing we can do' — this is what they said to me for weeks."

The province is reviewing its compensation program for flood victims and changes may be forthcoming. Currently, victims are eligible for up to $159,208, excluding the value of the land.

Another $25,000 is available for demolition costs. 

"I want to reiterate the will of the government to revise the program in order to help faster and more adequately the victims of the floods," Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux wrote on Facebook on Sunday. 

Cautious optimism

As of Sunday, a total of 129 municipalities were still affected by flooding in Quebec. More than 4,500 residents have been evacuated from their homes.

With water levels now receding, the City of Montreal officially lifted its state of emergency on Sunday, one week after the measure was declared. 

Elsewhere in the province water levels are also decreasing.

A man is assisted by Sûreté du Québec police officers after being evacuated from his home in the town of Rigaud. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

In Mauricie, officials say water levels won't continue to rise even though rain is expected throughout Sunday. Even so, the nearby municipality of Yamachiche has extended its state of emergency for another five days and Louisville is asking the military to stay.

Premier Philippe Couillard announced earlier this week that soldiers will remain in affected areas to help relief efforts.

More information sessions to come

The Quebec government will be holding more information sessions this coming week:

  • Pontiac: starting at 6 p.m. at 2024 Route 148 on May 15.
  • Rigaud: 4 p.m. at Édifice Paul-Brasseur at 10 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Street on May 15.
  • Deux-Montagnes: 7:30 p.m. at the city hall at 803 Chemin Oka on May 17.
  • Oka: 7:30 p.m. at 183, rue des Anges on May 18.
  • Ahuntsic-Cartierville: 10 a.m. at the YMCA on 11885 Laurentien Boulevard on May 20.

There will also be temporary offices set up for residents who cannot make the information sessions. 

Flood victims who need financial assistance or have questions about the forms but who can't attend information sessions can call the province at 1-888-643-2433.

With files from Simon Nakonechny and Radio-Canada