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Mandatory evacuations ordered in Pontiac

Mandatory evacuations are in effect for at least two communities in Quebec's Pontiac region as floodwaters continue to rise.

Hundreds of residents across region told to leave their homes

Eight-year-old Bryce Hudson takes a short break while helping to fill sandbags in Quyon, Que., over the weekend. (Andrew Lee/Radio-Canada)

Mandatory evacuations are in effect for at least two communities in Quebec's Pontiac region as floodwaters continue to rise.

Ten communities in western Quebec have declared states of emergency, many of them along the Ottawa River, which is rising and isn't expected to peak until Tuesday or Wednesday.

On Monday, 120 residents of the Village of Quyon were under a mandatory evacuation order amid worries a dike wouldn't hold.

Some people are very determined that they're going to fight this [flood] off.- Yves Melanson, City of Gatineau

The dike was built to withstand the 2017 flood, said Richard Groulx, director of fire services with the Municipality of Pontiac.

"Now the flood is higher than we expected. So we're trying to reinforce or re-elevate the dike in Quyon. But right now we are evacuating part of the village preventively, in case the dike doesn't hold."

More than 100 others were subject to evacuation orders elsewhere in the municipality, he said.

A makeshift barrier separates a road from the rising Ottawa River in Quyon, Que. (Marie-Ève DuSablon/Radio-Canada)

Mandatory evacuation in Fort Coulonge

Upstream from Quyon, homes on several streets in Fort Coulonge, Que., are also under an evacuation order. 

The streets being evacuated are:

  • Rue Bertrand.
  • Rue Desrochers.
  • Rue Baume (after rue Francoeur).
  • Chemin Bord de l'Eau.
  • Rue Beaulieu
  • Rue Francoeur.
  • Rue Miron
  • Rue du Centre Récréatif.
  • Rue Rose.

Residents living on those streets are asked to leave immediately and register with both the Municipality of Pontiac and the Red Cross at École secondaire Sieur-de-Coulonge, 250 chem. de la Chute, Mansfield-et-Pontefract, Que.

It's not known how many residents are affected.

Fire chief Richard Groulx says over 100 people have been asked to evacuate their homes in the village of Quyon amid fears that a dike near the community could fail. 0:36

600 evacuation notices in Gatineau

More than 1,470 residents have registered at the City of Gatineau's victim support centre, an increase of more than 200 over the past 24 hours. 

More than 600 evacuation notices have been handed out to residents in areas where emergency services believe access to those homes could become a problem, said Yves Melanson, a media relations officer with the City of Gatineau. While the evacuations aren't mandatory, around 95 homes have already been evacuated, Melanson said.

Some homeowners have chosen to stay put, and continue to pile sandbags and monitor their pumps, he said.

 "Some people are very determined that they're going to fight this [flood] off."

More than 830,000 sandbags have been filled across the city, a figure that could rise to one million by the time the waters recede, he said

Floodwaters reach the foundation of homes in Pointe-Gatineau. (Hannah Thibedeau/CBC)

Gatineau has used gravel to raise several roads, but Melanson urged residents not to drive on flood-prone streets.

Even after water levels peak, Melanson said it could still take two to three weeks before things return to normal.

"Knowing that it's going to take quite some time before the water level dissipates means that we're going to have to fight this for quite some time."

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