Nearly two months after record flood waters devastated the capital, more than one million sandbags are being removed from homes, cottages and businesses.
“Everything is gone, I have to start again. I don’t want no more. I want them to take my house and go away,” said Ellen Gunvielle; who finds herself rebuilding her Gatineau home along Rue Saint Louis following disastrous flooding in 2017.
“Everybody's been abandoned,” she said, “You have to have friends to help you and everything; me, I’ve got no friends you know.”
Gunvielle’s home is surrounded by water; her street remains closed 6 weeks after the flooding started. Living by herself after her husband passed away, she’s running out of options.
“It's hard for us, I don’t know what to do anymore.”
Hundreds have left their flooded neighbourhoods of Gatineau, staying elsewhere with loved ones until the water disappears and the homes are deemed safe to live in.June 1, 2019
“It's very tiring today,” said Gatineau resident Stephane Blais. ”We have to move everything without the help of the army; just to do that it's more painful for us.” Blais and a handful of friends used trucks and front-loaders to remove thousands of sandbags from his business at the corner of Rue Blais and Rue Saint Louis.
“It's all free time, it's all friends so hopefully we are lucky for that, but it's tiring,” said Blais.
Residents along Chemin Voisine in Rockland removing tens of thousands of sandbags this weekend @ottawacity asking for volunteers to help in Constance Bay and Clarence-Rockland this weekend @ctvottawa pic.twitter.com/XuOcWZ7kni— Mike Arsalides (@MArsalidesCTV) June 1, 2019
Ottawa residents and along Chemin Voisine in Rockland worked in the mud Saturday morning; where just last month more than a metre-and-a-half of water made the roadway unpassable without a boat.
“Everybody needs to get back to their regular life; so if you don’t give them a hand, they're going to be stuck like that till September,” said Lalonde who estimates removing 8 to 12 thousands sandbags from each property.
Ken Wilson said at least two of his neighbours have sold their homes and left. Wilson stayed behind, while recovering from a knee injury.
“Everybody wants to live on the water; it is things you might strive for. It's a beautiful view you can see seven miles up the river. You want to live here until there's a flood,” said Wilson.
Cleanup efforts in Ottawa and Gatineau are underway; the hardest hit areas in Ottawa include Constance Bay and Clarence-Rockland. City officials have called on volunteers to help residents with sandbag and debris removal.