Voices from the Quebec floods

Guest post by Canadian Red Cross volunteer Guy Lepage

"I don't ‎need that much. Please keep it for people who need it more."
This from a woman in her mid-seventies ‎whose car was totally submerged in the parking garage of her condo. A home she and her husband won't be able to return to for weeks.
But I also heard similar comments many times from people who showed up at the emergency information centre I worked in Pierrefonds, a suburb of Montreal.
My team of six volunteers would listen to residents tell us how much they had lost during the flooding.

One mother said she was out town when the river overflowed and flooded her home's basement.
"I lost all the baby pictures of my four boys," she said. "My husband did his best with the pumps we had but in the end it was too much."
For others, it was not about what they lost but preserving what they have.
"I am living with my son and his two kids in his apartment and sleeping in one of his kids' beds but I have not slept since the flood started," said another man. "I need to get my own place before this damages my relationship with my son."

After listening to their stories, we put people up in hotels, gave them funds for food and clothing.
Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers across Quebec are doing this in 10 emergency shelters.
The scope of this emergency is massive.
More than 5,000 homes have been flooded, forcing nearly 4,000 to seek shelter elsewhere.
187 municipalities have been affected.
And just as Canadians responded following last year's Fort Mac fires, many have opened up their wallets and money continues to pour in.

Volunteers have stepped up once again travelling from across Quebec to assist. I am proud to say I am the only out of province Red Cross volunteer to deploy here so far. But that's primarily because Je parles francais...
I also worked at the central command centre helping to coordinate logistics and information to the centres.
With such a high volume of clients, the centre makes sure volunteers have the tools they need.
"Merci pour ce que vous faites pour nous.""Thanks for everything you are doing for us"
"Vous êtes bienvenues". "You are welcome."

See your impact in action.

Sign up to receive impact updates from the Canadian Red Cross, inspirational stories from the field and be the first to hear about emergency relief efforts.

The Canadian Red Cross takes your privacy seriously. We do not distribute or sell your email address to anyone. View our privacy policy.

Blog Archives