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Here’s what it takes to call in the army when there’s a natural disaster

WATCH ABOVE: Additional Canadian Forces troops called in to assist Quebec flood efforts

As spring flooding swamps communities in parts of B.C., Ontario, and New Brunswick, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) were called in to assist residents in several Quebec cities.

While the handling of natural disasters is normally the responsibility of provincial and territorial governments, in cases where the event has overwhelmed local authorities, the CAF may be called in to help.

READ MORE: Flood coverage for all Canadian cities

Federal forces have been called in to multiple Quebec areas including Saint-Jean sur Richelieu, Shawinigan, Laval and Gatineau, to assist the provincial government with its emergency response to flooding in the region.

WATCH: Flooding wreaks havoc on Canadian cities

Flooding wreaks havoc on Canadian cities
Flooding wreaks havoc on Canadian cities

In order to bring in the army, Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux submitted a formal request to the government for federal assistance, which was then accepted by the federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale and Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan.

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As of Monday, the CAF had deployed approximately 1,650 military troops from 2nd Canadian Division to Quebec, including aviation assets, engineer assets, and 12 boats from the naval reserve.

This force, known as Operation LENTUS, is called in to assist civilians in the midst of natural disaster and has been deployed 14 times since 2010, not including the current events.

In order for the CAF to deploy Operation LENTUS, the province must send a formal request to the federal government for assistance, as was done with the flooding in Quebec. Such a request was also submitted by the New Brunswick government this past January to assist with a destructive ice storm in the region.

In 2016, LENTUS was deployed only once — to Alberta to assist with the emergency response to the Fort McMurray wildfires, and twice the year before for both flooding and wildfire situations.

READ MORE: IN PHOTOS: Flooding ravages municipalities across Quebec

Operation LENTUS can draw support from the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force if needed. The Canadian Army has been posting images to its official Facebook and Twitter pages of their personnel assisting with the floods using the hashtag #OpLENTUS.

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