Prime Minister Stephen Harper Visits Flood Affected Region of Quebec
June 06, 2021
ST-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, QUEBEC – Prime Minister Stephen Harper today visited the Quebec region of Montérégie to see first hand the impact of the floods that have precipitated evacuations and impacted infrastructure and businesses in 22 municipalities.
Following his visit, the Prime Minister announced that the Government is also prepared to discuss a mitigation strategy that would apply to all provinces and territories to help enhance infrastructure to better withstand future floods. He also offered to evenly split with the province of Quebec the costs of permanent flood mitigation measures taken specifically for this year’s flooding in Quebec, that are not otherwise eligible under the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements.
“The people of Montérégie can rest assured that our Government is working closely with the province and affected communities to keep them safe and to help them rebuild their communities and lives,” said the Prime Minister. “Our goal is to help them return to a normal life as quickly as possible.”
The Prime Minister also thanked members of Canada’s Armed Forces who have been actively engaged in the region since May 4th assisting in evacuations as well as preserving infrastructure, transportation routes and residential areas.
The Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements is the mechanism through which the Government provides financial assistance to provincial and territorial governments for response and recovery from natural disasters for eligible costs.
The Government responded quickly to the Province of Quebec’s request for assistance in controlling floods in the Montérégie region, through the Canadian Armed Forces’ Operation LOTUS (E) 1-11 joint response. This domestic humanitarian relief mission incorporated CAF Army, Navy and Air Force assets to deliver much needed assistance to communities affected by these floods.
Op LOTUS supported provincial and municipal authorities and included protection of municipal infrastructure, private residences and essential access roads. More than 840 Regular and Reserve Force CAF members were tasked to the affected areas at the operation’s peak. Op LOTUS deployed CAF aviation support in the form of rotary wing aircraft, as well as small boats from the Navy to assist with evacuations and cargo movement. It also provided:
• Planning and coordination assistance;
• Support to:
◦ Preserve essential municipal infrastructure;
◦ Preserve essential access routes; and
◦ Preserve access to residential areas.
• Assistance in the voluntary evacuation of civilians; and
• Essential logistical and material support.
All of the CAF’s tasks, as originally mandated, have been completed successfully. The CAF have produced the number of sandbags necessary to protect essential municipal infrastructure, access roads and private residences. Over 221,000 sandbags were filled and distributed by the CAF. With local residents, CAF personnel contributed to protecting approximately 825 private residences against further water infiltration. The CAF have assisted local authorities with the voluntary evacuation of many residents, and combat engineers and Naval Reserve divers made urgent repairs to the Baie-des-Anglais dike in Henryville, which contributed to protect over 2,500 acres of farmland. A dike in Ste-Anne-de-Sabrevois was also repaired by CAF teams. CAF personnel participated in approximately 1075 hours of assistance visits to residents.
Today, the Prime Minister announced the Government is prepared to discuss a mitigation strategy that would apply to all provinces and territories to help enhance infrastructure to better withstand future floods. He also offered to evenly split with the province of Quebec the costs of permanent flood mitigation measures, taken specifically for this year’s flooding in Quebec, that are not otherwise eligible under the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements.
The Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements is the mechanism through which the Government of Canada provides financial assistance to provincial and territorial governments for response and recovery from natural disasters for eligible costs. The DFAA is administered by Public Safety Canada and assists provinces and territories for costs that exceed what they could reasonably be expected to bear on their own.
Disaster mitigation measures are those that eliminate or reduce the impacts and risks of hazards through proactive measures taken before an emergency or disaster occurs.
Disaster mitigation measures may be structural (e.g. flood dikes) or non-structural (e.g. land use zoning). Mitigation activities should incorporate the measurement and assessment of the evolving risk environment. Activities may include the creation of comprehensive, pro-active tools that help decide where to focus funding and efforts in risk reduction.
Other examples of mitigation measures include:
• Hazard mapping
• Adoption and enforcement of land use and zoning practices
• Implementing and enforcing building codes
• Flood plain mapping
• Reinforced tornado safe rooms
• Burying of electrical cables to prevent ice build-up
• Raising of homes in flood-prone areas
• Disaster mitigation public awareness programs
• Insurance programs
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