Ray Pretty and his family are among those trying to restart their lives in the wake of the floods that have hit Montreal so hard.
“I had a fully furnished basement, a TV, bookshelves, and a laundry room down here,” he explains.
Now it’s all gone.
Pretty’s home is one of over a thousand that the city has inspected so far, with damage being categorized according to a colour-coded system.
Sixty homes are in the red. Louise Desrosiers from the Montreal fire department explains that the red code signals to residents that their house is uninhabitable.
Five hundred homes – like Pretty’s – are in the green category, signaling that people are free to return to where they used to live.
Another 500 are in the yellow category, which means that owners can go back if certain health and safety rules are followed. They’re instructed to look out for mold, check that heating and electricity systems are in place and document any damages.
Pretty is looking forward to re-inhabiting his home and getting back to some peace and quiet.
During the floods, he says his neighborhood was a “war zone”.
The military was called in to evacuate people in need. Now, that same military is tasked with cleaning up the mess that’s been left behind.
But despite the devastation and destruction caused by the floods, some have found cause for optimism.
Captain Wade Van Der Kraak of the Canadian Armed Forces told Global News that this is the “first time” many people from different areas of the military have worked together.
Yet he’s pleased to see that they’ve quickly become a “cohesive team”.
He noted that, although some people might consider the floods a challenge, he’s seen it as an opportunity to showcase that the military can quickly mobilize to assist Canadians in the face of a crisis.
Working alongside the military are public health teams.
Dr. Richard Massé, Montreal’s director of public health, told Global News that his team is busy every day “going to homes, daycares, schools, small shops, and businesses.”
Roughly 25 percent of people public health officials have seen during home visits have displayed high levels of stress. The city has referred them to people who can help.
We’re only beginning to learn about the toll these floods have had on the community.
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