Sunday, May 22, 2011

Quebec braces for rising river levels: Canada

Premier Jean Charest says the presence of Canada's Armed Forces may have to be enhanced because of changing conditions along Quebec's flooding Richelieu River.

Water levels were expected to rise again sometime Sunday. Strong winds from the south, forcing water into the river from Lake Champlain, could raise levels by 15 centimetres in some areas, officials said.

After visiting with mayors in the region on Saturday, Charest said he wants Canada's Armed Forces to stay and help in the Montérégie region.

At one point, close to 800 Armed Forces personnel were helping flood victims, but all but about 200 have since left. Charest said more troops could be needed as the weather changes.

"We are going to ask the Armed Forces to be vigilant with the change in the weather patterns in the next few days. We may need them in certain specific municipalities to help out," he said.

Charest also said he wants Defence Minister Peter MacKay to meet with local mayors to gain a better understanding of the situation. MacKay has said that although the number of troops has been cut, members of the military will help out for as long as they're needed.

About 3,000 homes have been flooded and nearly 1,000 people have been out of their homes for the past five weeks. (read more)