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Threat Of Collapsing Dams Keeps Residents Away

Tue., July 23, 1996

Fearing that stressed dams could burst, authorities barred more than 10,000 residents from returning Monday to homes they fled during deadly weekend flooding.

“As long as we’re not assured by specialists that the dams are safe, we won’t send people home,” said Marc Lavallee of Quebec’s civil protection service.

Eight people were killed when more than 11 inches of rain fell Friday and Saturday, swelling lakes and rivers in the Saguenay region of southern Quebec and washing away about 100 houses.

While Monday saw clear skies and good weather, officials worried that rain predicted for today could trigger new flooding.

The flooding drove thousands of people to emergency shelters, including some forced out when a small dam burst Sunday in the river city of Chicoutimi.

Many roads in the province were still blocked Monday, while several thousand people in parts of the province remained without electricity.

Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard announced creation of a $200 million relief fund on Monday. Bouchard said $200 million was only a conservative estimate of the damage.

Searchers have recovered the bodies of five motorists who drowned while trying to navigate flooded highways and one boater who drowned Friday on the St. Lawrence.

Tags: Flood

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