Ottawa

Residents displaced by floods need to be patient, Gatineau mayor urges

Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pednaud-Jobin and Gov. Gen. David Johnston toured flooded areas of Gatineau Tuesday with the Canadian Armed Forces.

'The whole country is rooting for you,' GG says after touring Gatineau floods with mayor

Gov. Gen. David Johnston tours the flooded streets of Gatineau, Que. with members of the Candian Armed Forces on Tuesday, May 9, 2017.

Water levels might be receding in parts of Gatineau, but flood victims need to be patient before they can be allowed back into their homes, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pednaud-Jobin told a news conference Tuesday. 

"This will take time," he said, after touring devastated areas with Gov. Gen. David Johnston and his wife, Sharon. 

The pair visited Hurtubise Boulevard on the Ottawa River water front and talked to volunteers, first responders, and soldiers who have been helping out with the relief efforts. 

The good news to come out of the news conference is that water levels are dropping at approximately one to two centimetres per hour in some areas, Pednaud-Jobin said.

Although there is more rain in the weekend forecast, there is no cause for concern, he added.

'The whole country is rooting for you…'

The mayor said he understands residents are anxious to get back to their homes, but he is urging people to be patient and allow authorities to start the recovery phase in their response to the flooding. There will be a procedure in place to collect the thousands of sandbags that have distributed to residents, but logistics still need to be ironed out. 

Pednaud-Jobin said people who have been displaced can visit the city's website to find information about charities that are offering support in the form of clothing and food. 

The tour came on the same day the federal government announced 1,730 soldiers have been dispatched to assist in the emergency. ​Earlier Tuesday, Canada's top solider, Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance, also visited the Gatineau area 

A Canadian soldier is thanked by a Gatineau resident on Rue Glaude on May 8, 2017. (Laurie Trudel/Radio-Canada)

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the governor general said he saw firsthand the "indescribable" devastation and damage to people's homes. 

"The images on television and social media come nowhere near to conveying the incredible power of the water and its devastating effect. Our hearts and thoughts are with the victims," he said in French, before praising the work done by first responders, volunteers, and the Canadian Armed Forces. 

"The whole country is rooting for you through this difficult time."

Canadians urged to donate to Red Cross

Gaetan Lessard, director of civil security for the Outaouais, said at the conference there are 15 emergency response missions that have either been activated or will be very soon in response to the floods. Those missions will be done in coordination with the Canadian Armed Forces in the coming days and weeks. 

In the meantime, he urged Canadians to donate to the Red Cross relief fund announced Monday. "I hope people will continue to be generous. The needs will be huge," he said in French.

The City of Gatineau said Tuesday morning the flooding that has affected more than 500 homes and sent nearly 1,000 people into the care of the Red Cross appears to have peaked with water levels going down slightly.

The Quebec government said water levels may not be back to normal until the end of the month.

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