Clarenceville, Venise en Quebec and the surrounding areas will finally see some relief now that the rain has stopped for a few days, but the damage of property will truly become visible as the water retreats. The sludge and mud that it leaves behind besides the water damage will be unreal and will make cleanup and salvage operations slow and best for some and near impossible for others.
Venise en Quebec and the areas closet to the water saw the most damage. The Marina was completely submerged and the main street in certain spots after no rain for a week were still covered in water and you can see where the water was right up to the doors and driveways of most of the lower lying properties. Tractors were pumping the water out trying to give these people some relief, but the water is only half of the problem, sewage, silt and mud will remain to be cleaned.
The rain has stopped for a few days and the water is slowly starting to go down. I have never seen this kind of flooding before and I am in awe of the totality of the destruction to houses, cars, and land, that this type of flooding does. When the brother of my best friend and business partner told me that he was wading through water up to his waist, trying to help people and trying to get them to seek shelter on higher ground I had no idea of the gravity of the situation.
The day he told us about the flooding it had been raining for the better part of the week and he had been sandbagging without much sleep for a few days. This guy owns a local farm, is the local volunteer fire chief and is no stranger to seeing the destruction that mother nature can dish out, but this day the look in his eyes and the desperation in his eyes told me that this severity of the damage and the danger to the people that he was trying to help was new to him and he was afraid for them.
He had taken the time off to drive his daughter back into the city and it was clear that he felt guilty leaving the sandbagging and the rescue operations even for the two hours or so to drop her off and return to the devastated area and continue working.
He spoke of the dangers of electrocution as water levels rose in the basements of houses and the difficulties of getting to some people because of the roads and bridges being buried and still my mind I could not grasp the situation. He spoke of the friends and the older people who were refusing to leave their land and their property with a sadness and the hope that he would not have to be forceful for their own sake and that the water would go down and the rain would stop.
I wanted to visit the area because I wanted to know what could make this usually calm, afraid of nothing guy suddenly scared for his community. This fire chief talked about the difficulties the army was having and the great help that they were providing in the effort to minimize the damage to the people and the area and to help remove a lot of the engineering dangers that such flooding and high water levels cause, such as electrical, danger of disease, drowning and the like. They were also there to provide security from looting that can happen when there is a forced emergency mass evacuation, although up to now only one breaking and entering had been reported.
Up to this point in my life I have only seen the flooding of a street in Montreal, when it rained too hard and the sewers overflowed into the streets, but never did I see the kind of water levels he was talking about that would remain long as he was talking about. I decided that it was time for me to go take a look and see first hand what I could not wrap my mind around. Work stopped me from going for a week after we had talked, but word drifted back from the farm that my friend’s brother had ceased to return home any more and was working night and day to do what he could to help his people the people of his community that he loved and felt responsible for as their fire chief. I knew what he looked like the day I saw him and I could only imagine what he looked like now a week later with no sleep, eating poorly and the stress of trying to convince seniors to abandon the homes and in some cases their animals and being refused.
After a week of no rain I finally get to go and see for myself the destruction the flooding has caused and words for once fail this guy. The flooding can be seen from the highway starting from Iberville and Ste. Anne de Sabervois and it is just devastating to put it mildly. Cars were almost covered and roads washed away and there was no way to get in and take pictures and I do not even know if I would have felt comfortable doing it.
It is hard to imagine just how bad the farms were hit until you stand at the beginning of a farmer’s field as I was able to do and see the land slowly disappearing and being replaced by water. When the water is gone what will it take with it. The very least that will happen to these people is a late start that could mean the loss of a season. Farming is not easy and most farmers live on the brink of ruination if they get a bad crop and I wonder how many can hold on with no crop. Will the governments of Canada help them out financially? I guess we will have to wait and see.
In the pictures and the slide show that I will put up for you to see those little trees showing used to be fields, the boat bridge you see shows just how high the water is. In Noyan, Clarenceville, Henryville and Venise en Quebec, people are just trying to cope now that the water is receding very slowly.
The army, police and volunteer fire department as well as the citizens are trying to help those worse hit to be able to survive this tragedy and if there is any sense of good in all of this is that all governments, all of the people of these flooded communities have come together and really showed what determination, hope, faith and a lot of hard work can do. I tip my hat to them and pray God speed and let the water recede quickly. I stop taking pictures in Venise en Quebec. I found it heart breaking, just taking pictures a week later, I could never understand the total sense of loss of these strong people, but they should hold their heads up high and be proud of a job well done in saving so much of what could have been lost forever. Bravo and may God Bless you all!