Major floods have been occurring across the province over the past couple of weeks. Thousands of homes have been damaged, forcing over ten thousand people to leave their homes as of May 29th. Bridges and roads have become inundated, and 3000 people have been cut off from their communities.
In Montreal, a total of 55 residences were completely evacuated, and 94 homes were flooded. Until last Thursday afternoon, Montreal was put under a state of emergency.
In response to the record-breaking floods, emergency responders and volunteers have been working hard around the clock to fill sandbags and assist those who have been displaced by floodwaters.
As of April 29th, floodwaters have begun to recede. Quebec’s premier Francois Legault told reporters in one of the flood-stricken areas that: “I want to insist that people who have serious damage should seriously think about moving (out of the flood zone)”. Legault said that the fund distribution process for those wishing to rebuild their homes will happen more quickly than in 2017.
The government is offering those flooded a lifetime maximum amount of only $100,000 to repair damage. Many residents are upset at the small amount of government aid, considering that some of their homes had a purchase value upwards of $500,000 before the flood damage.
Residents who wish to move will get up to $200,000 for their houses, $50,000 for the land, and compensation for their furniture, Legault explained. “We want to minimize damage in the long term and avoid Quebec taxpayers [having to] pay repetitively for repairs. This is what we will figure out in the coming weeks.”
It was said in 2017 that floods as bad the one that year were “once in 50-year floods”. Clearly not, as it has barely been two years since the last major flooding incident in the province, with this year’s flooding being considerably worse than 2017’s. It is clear that something other than bad luck has been causing the almost yearly floods.
Our rapidly warming planet is the main catalyst for increased flooding not only in Quebec, but across the Northwest of North America. Higher temperatures result in air retaining more moisture, which leads to heavier rainfalls. Low lying areas and areas with high precipitation rates are especially at risk, and should expect more and more flooding in the coming years.
Drastic changes in the annual precipitation levels that are occurring due to climate change, along with temperature shifts, threaten more than just people’s homes and businesses due to flooding. In addition to major property damage, these changes will threaten agriculture and have contributed to a northwestern movement of agricultural zones.
“Season creep” is also becoming a major problem worldwide. Spring weather is arriving earlier, and fall weather arriving later, resulting in the aforementioned problems, and countless others. Each of these consequences have rippling effects, and actions must be taken immediately to curb the dire consequences of the changing climate.
Just as hundreds of volunteers came together to help with flood relief efforts in the province, we need to assemble to fight for action against climate change, and for a sustainable future.
Written by: India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner