Widespread flooding forcing evacuations in Maniwaki
It's going to take the better part of the day to evacuate all 66 of these frail elderly residents; a necessary precaution as the nearby river overflows its banks.
“Obviously we couldn’t take any chances with our patients,” says Genevieve Coté, with the Centre Integré de Santé et de Services Sociaux de l”outaouais, “We had to make sure they were in a secure place.”
The resident have been sent to community centres or home with family members until it is deemed safe to return.
Down the road Mike McCormac is busy sandbagging the local elementary school which was shut down this morning.
“We hope this is going to keep the water out. We are going to give it another 50 bags and go from there.”
Students at Woodland Elementary school had an unexpected day off and may be off for a few more days as water levels continue to rise. The high school across the river has also been evacuated.
“We went to class and did some work and another teacher came in and said it was being evacuated,” says 12-year-old Sabrina Thuskey.
“I've been living here for 10 to 15 years back and forth between Gatineau,” says Maniwaki resident Melanie Ozon, “and this is the highest I’ve ever seen the water, ever.”
This is the river Désert which is really heavily swollen with water. The flooding is extensive and it's going to get a whole lot worse as Hydro Québec opens up the dam just a little north of here.
This isn't the first time residents of Maniwaki have seen this level of flooding. In 1974 and again in the mid 90's, the Desert river overflowed its banks
“If they're going to open the dam,” says Maniwaki resident Laurier Lamarche, “that will come up another foot, two foot.”
But as the rain continues to fall, people here are bracing for the worst yet to come.
“It's a good thing I’m built up on a hill,” says Suezie Commonda, “and I've got my boat ready. I'm going to build Noah's Ark,” she laughs.