Navy reservists using boats in Rigaud, Quebec. Canadian Forces photo.
Royal Canadian Navy reservists from Ottawa and Kingston are in Gatineau helping in the flood response as teams provide boats for firefighters and other emergency personnel or help evacuate individuals from their flooded properties.Seventy sailors, most reservists, are involved in flood response in various locations in Quebec.That includes 18 reservists, most from Ottawa although some are from Kingston, who are being used in the Gatineau area, Commander Mathieu Leroux, the maritime component element commander for Joint Task Force East, told the Ottawa Citizen.The reservists have access to five boats.“Our mission is to provide support to local authorities,” Leroux said. “The most frequent task is to provide transportation and mobility support for local authorities like social workers and firefighters.”But he noted that the sailors are taking part in transporting people from their property as flood waters close in. “Yesterday (Thursday) we had four people ask for voluntary evacuation in Gatineau,” he said.The number of evacuations for Friday was not available but Leroux said he expected the figure had increased.Other reservists assigned to Joint Task Force East also conducted their first nighttime evacuation in Rigaud on Thursday.The military boats are used in cases where light armoured vehicles are too heavy for the roads or where the water is too high that it can damage vehicles.Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said at a news conference early Friday that approximately 3,150 residences had been flooded in Quebec and an estimated 1,111 people had been evacuated. Just over 1,000 Canadian Forces personnel are deployed across Quebec to support flood control efforts and ensure citizen safety through wellness checks and evacuations, Goodale said. ALSO IN THE NEWS:Flood watch Quebec: ‘I can’t be angry because it’s Mother Nature’‘People will lose a lot:’ Gatineau fighting floods alongside other Quebec communities Troops, premier arrive in Ottawa as record floodwaters rise; city prepares for evacuations