Homes close to Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River have been affected by the spring flooding with hundreds of disaster victims being ordered to evacuate the area. To date, 2,000 homes have been affected and 500 families evacuated. This number would have been even higher if it were not for certain people insisting on staying in their homes so that their property was not left to the flooding, which has been plaguing the area for nearly two weeks now. A total of 58 municipalities were hit hard by the floods.
It has also hurt agriculture. Around the Richelieu River, almost 40% of farmland has been flooded to an extent not seen in the past 100 years. Damage for farmers will be substantial since the sowing season has to be put off (April and May is the sowing season for most plants), not to mention the time and expense involved in cleaning debris from the land, repairing damaged equipment, dealing with erosion and washing the soil. Farmers might as well say goodbye to any profits this year…
A sign that things will take a while to get back to normal: the government has called upon the army to help just as it did back in 1998 for the Ice Storm. This time just over 100 soldiers will come to help those affected and ensure the security of the inundated villages.
The government did announce that it would assist families affected, but, in reality, the compensation will not cover much. People will be financially compensated for up to 80% of the damage caused to the main rooms in their homes and any essential possessions. In other words, people affected can forget about their home theatre system in the basement or anything in the guest rooms. In addition, $50 will be provided to cover clothing, and $10 to $20 for the expense of having to temporary relocate.
Home insurance contracts are clear about flooding: in fact, all contracts in Quebec do not cover flooding. However, there is a clause in most home insurance contracts that could assist victims. Indeed, an extended benefit could be included in your contracts that would take effect in the case of an evacuation order by civil authorities. Depending on your insurance company, you could be compensated for up to two weeks of living expenses. If you are currently under an evacuation order by the civil authorities, contact your insurance broker Lareau for information.
You can also read more on the Web site of the Government of Québec under government assistance.