MONTREAL -- Quebec's public security minister is again urging victims of this spring's floods to be patient as the government works its way through thousands of requests for assistance.

Martin Coiteux says he understands the frustrations people are feeling.

He held a news conference in Montreal today, one day after people voiced those frustrations at provincewide public consultations on a proposed government decree.

The decree would address who can rebuild homes affected by the flooding that hammered various parts of the province just a few months ago.

Coiteux says 278 municipalities were flooded and more than 5,000 residences affected, while 4,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes.

He said the government will take information gleaned from the public consultations before issuing the decree, possibly this fall.

"We have to understand we are facing a very exceptional situation," he said, adding his department has hired another 90 people to speed up the process.

In 92 per cent of the cases of flooding, an investigator has visited the premises, Coiteux said.

"And within the next five weeks, we should be able to give a final report to everybody who has received a visit from an inspector," he said.

The government is dealing with about 3,000 files in all.

Coiteux added the government has spent about $23 million so far -- funds that include the cost of purchasing sandbags and relocating people who had to leave their homes.