Volunteer cleanup effort in Quebec flood zone continues
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Sunday, June 12, 2011 8:45AM EDT
After coping with seven weeks of devastating floods, Quebec's Richelieu Valley is welcoming another deluge this weekend -- of volunteers eager to help clean up.
Organizers say the first day of the weekend-long effort was a success, and expect more of the same as volunteers return to the flood-devastated area south of Montreal on Sunday.
Organized by the SOS Richelieu committee, about 2,000 volunteers, some from church groups and law firms, arrived early Saturday morning by shuttle bus from Montreal to help with the cleanup dubbed the ‘Grande Corvee.'
Besides removing waterlogged furniture and debris, they're helping take away the half million sandbags the Canadian military helped lay down just five weeks ago.
Residents, many of whom still haven't been able to return home because of heavy mould and building rot, were happy to see the sea of volunteers descend on the region eager and able to lend a helping hand.
"Sometime, during crisis like that, you just think you're alone and you're not," Sandra Moreira told CTV Montreal's Genevieve Beauchemin on Saturday.
SOS leader Michel Fecteau said the presence of the volunteers is important for residents. His sentiments were echoed by Quebec Premier Jean Charest who promised to reevaluate the province's compensation package for flood victims when he joined volunteers Saturday morning.
Today is the second in a planned four-day cleanup campaign. About 10,000 people responded to the call for volunteers.
In April, the Richelieu River burst its banks to levels the region hadn't seen in 150 years.
High winds and unpredictable weather kept water levels at record highs, forcing more than 1,000 people from their homes and damaging more than 3,000 houses.
With files from CTV's Genevieve Beauchemin in St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec