Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

May 24, 2011 15:52 ET

Government of Canada and Canadian Forces Send Troops to Assist With the Quebec Floods

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 24, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today:

"The Canadian Forces doubled the number of its personnel and equipment in the Montérégie region last night in order to assist the people in the flooded areas. The Canadian Forces are there to respond immediately should the floodwaters of the Richelieu River cause damage to the dikes, or place Canadians in danger.

Given the concern of local and provincial officials that the public may be at a heightened risk, the Canadian Forces may be asked to assist with evacuating citizens, or assist provincial authorities where lives could be in danger. As such, I requested Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw, Commander of Canada Command, to approve the immediate deployment of the Task Force Reserve, which was positioned at a state of high-readiness at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier and in St Jean, Quebec, along with follow-on forces, bringing the total number to approximately 500.

The Canadian Forces has maintained a presence in Montérégie, since May 4, when their personnel and equipment arrived there within eight hours of receiving a request from the Province of Quebec to assist with rising flood waters. Within 24 hours of the provincial request, approximately 500 personnel were providing flood mitigation support to local authorities. At the height of this relief effort, the Canadian Forces had over 840 personnel involved in this mission.

By May 17, the Canadian Forces Task Force engaged in this operation had accomplished almost all of the tasks which had been requested of them. They were authorized to reduce the number of personnel in the region to approximately 250 personnel, a level necessary to maintain an ability to immediately react to urgent demands. The remainder of the personnel were placed on high readiness at their home bases to get ready for any future tasks that they may be called upon to perform.

The Canadian Forces will continue its mandate to assist civil authorities in responding to this emergency until its personnel and unique capabilities are no longer required."

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