53 new homes in La Baie were evacuated overnight from Saturday to Sunday following the evacuation order from the city of Saguenay. This adds 200 people to the list of victims.
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Residents of the affected buildings were scheduled to leave by 7 a.m. on Sunday morning. They learned the news on Saturday night. So it’s a real race against the clock, which has started, in order to be able to clear the site in time.
“It’s really hard to live with, but I think there are worse people in life,” said a citizen met by the TVA Nouvelles team on the night.
She says she’s taking the situation much more seriously since Monday’s landslide in La Baie.
Victims also fear losing all their memories and belongings as insurance does not cover this type of damage.
“Everyone is afraid, nobody can sleep. Me, that’s my life that’s there,” claims another resident.
MTQ experts reportedly told the city of Saguenay that the very friable soil in the affected area suggests a major landslide could occur.
They are conjuring up a catastrophe that could resemble the landslide that engulfed Saint-Jean-Vianney in 1971, killing 31 people.
Since the events began, 76 homes have been evacuated.
The affected apartments are located on 7th, 8th and 9th Avenues, as well as 6th Street, Avenue du Parc and Avenue du Port.
Saguenay City Councilor Raynald Simard showed up in the evacuated neighborhood on Sunday morning.
“It’s dramatic. Knocking on our door to be told, ‘You have until 7 a.m. tomorrow morning to leave and if you can leave right away, walk away, that’s dramatic,'” the elected officials confided adding that citizens still understood the reasons for the drastic measure.
“These people know that we are not doing this to harm them, we are doing this for their safety. They understood.”
Dubuc’s member François Tremblay said he was very concerned about the situation.
“The first thought goes to families. Above all, we need to make sure that people get support and guidance and don’t feel too much fear,” said the MP.
“I spoke to my colleague Andrée Laforest last night, we are awaiting late reports from Quebec. Public safety will take the lead,” he said.
Sand walls will be built in the next few hours to prevent the embankment from sagging.
“We want to do this to hold back the mudslide if it ever falls. It would be possible not to evacuate further around,” commented Christian Fillion, head of the management and risk analysis department at the Saguenay fire brigade, briefly on Sunday morning.
“It goes deep. It could cause a big landslide. The ground is really tight at the moment [à la verticale] and in the next few days they tell us that properties will collapse and the ground will return to its normal slope,” specifies the deputy fire chief.
Victims may have to wait weeks or even months before they can return to their homes. Ground tests are still ongoing to determine next steps.
Saguenay Mayor Julie Dufour says the city’s priority is to help residents relocate and provide them with the right information.
A meeting is scheduled later in the morning to meet these new victims and take stock of the situation with them.