Ottawa

Newcomers remember Quebec family who offered shelter, kindness after 2018 tornadoes

A family whose home was destroyed by a tornado that touched down in the Mont-Bleu sector of Gatineau, Que., says they've had an unforgettable experience of solidarity and have also built a solid friendship despite the tragedy.

N'dri family arrived in Canada 2 months before tornadoes destroyed apartment building

Several residences were destroyed on rue Jummonville, in the Mont-Bleu neighbourhood of Gatineau, Que., after several tornadoes struck eastern Ontario and western Quebec in 2018. (Radio-Canada)

A family whose home was destroyed by a tornado that touched down in the Mont-Bleu sector of Gatineau, Que., says they've had an unforgettable experience of solidarity and have also built a solid friendship despite the tragedy.

Six tornadoes touched down in eastern Ontario and western Quebec on Sept. 21, 2018, leaving behind a trail of destruction that cost more than $295 million in damage and affected more than 2,000 people.

Landry N'dri, his wife, Mathenin Ouatara, and their two children aged four and six-years-old at the time, had arrived in Canada only two months before.

The family had decided to go shopping for winter clothes for the children when the emergency tornado alert went off on the father's phone.

"A few minutes later, friends sent us a photo of our home. The tornado had destroyed the whole apartment," said N'dri in a French interview on Radio-Canada's Les matins d'ici.

'Love and warmth'

With support from the Canadian Red Cross, the family spent that night in a hotel. It was the following day, at the Cégep de l'Outaouais, which served as a refuge for disaster victims, that a Quebec family offered them help.

"A Quebec family offered to take us home with them," said N'dri.

N'dri's family only spent a few moments deliberating before taking the other family up on their offer.

"The few minutes that followed the meeting convinced us that it was a family of very good faith who really wanted to help. We were very well received at their place," he said.

The decision ended up being a great one for the family who had recently arrived in Canada.

"We had all the love and warmth of the house," he said. "It was the first Quebec family we met, who trusted us, who we didn't know before."

The N'dri family has remained friends ever since with the other family who welcomed them after the disaster, inviting each other to dinner.

With files from Radio-Canada

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