Military dispatched to Gatineau as flood threat looms

Soldiers arrived in Gatineau Saturday night to deal with a looming flood threat caused by rising waters on the Ottawa River.

Soldiers arrive Saturday night, will be sent out across the region Sunday

A military vehicle drives along a flooded street in Gatineau in 2017. Soldiers have once again been dispatched to the city as water levels on the Ottawa River continue to rise. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Soldiers arrived in Gatineau Saturday night to deal with a looming flood threat caused by rising waters on the Ottawa River.

Approximately 140 troops from CFB Valcartier will be stationed in the city, along with 10 armoured vehicles and 20 other military vehicles, according to Étionne Dion, a military public affairs officer.

They arrived after 9 p.m. 

The soldiers were deployed across the Outaouais on Sunday morning, Dion told Radio-Canada.

Three Outaouais communities — Pontiac, Val-des-Monts, and Saint-André-Avellin — have already declared emergencies due to the flood threat.

In Pontiac, one woman died Friday in a crash after a rural road washed out.

Earlier Saturday, Brig.-Gen. Jennie Carignan told a news conference that the military had identified priority areas in the province where troops would be deployed to help.

She said 200 people will be deployed in Gatineau and Trois Rivières Saturday evening.

By midday Sunday, Carignan said another wave of troops would be sent out, for a total of around 600 people on the ground in Trois Rivières, Laval, and Gatineau.

"We can support the population in more isolated areas, where we will try to get people out of bad situations due to the rising water," said Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Bertrand in a French-language interview with Radio-Canada. 

Troops were also sent to Gatineau during the devastating spring floods of 2017.

Victim assistance centre opens

On Saturday, the City of Gatineau also announced it had opened a victim assistance centre at the Centre Communautaire Jean-René-Monette.

The centre is open to anyone needing emergency assistance or shelter, with Red Cross officials and city employees there to provide help.

The city also held a second straight "solidarity blitz" Saturday, with more than 500 volunteers filling nearly 18,000 sandbags.

Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said he was hopeful peak levels on the Ottawa River would be lower than expected, given that there was less rainfall than originally forecast.

Environment Canada lifted rainfall warnings for the region Saturday afternoon.

With files from CBC Montreal


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