Quebec unveils 24-point plan to improve disaster relief, preparedness

Quebec unveils 24-point plan to improve disaster relief, preparedness
Quebec unveils 24-point plan to improve disaster relief, preparedness

'The work will take several years, and we have to start right now,' Martin Coiteux said.

Published on: March 1, 2018 | Last Updated: March 1, 2018 1:20 PM EST

In the wake of 2017’s historic flooding, the Quebec government said Thursday it will pour more money into disaster preparedness, and make it easier for future victims to get compensation.

That was the gist of a 24-point plan to improve the response to disasters in the province.

Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said his department was overwhelmed by a deluge of people claiming damages in last spring’s floods, with more than 6,000 claimants, compared to the usual 100 or so per year. He said because of that increase, the ministry had to hire and train more staff, which made the process of receiving an indemnity to cover damages much longer than normal.

“In too many cases, some of the victims had to deal with different civil servants in charge of their file, and this is something we want to correct,” Coiteux said. 

He added that the ministry will train employees within other governmental departments to work with disaster victims so that if there is a major incident, those employees will be on hand and ready to act.

Coiteux said the province will also allow cities and towns to handle claims if they wish to do so, which could also make it faster and more efficient for victims to get compensation to repair damage.

He also announced $20.5 million for cities to update floodplain maps that are in some cases woefully out of date, and another $20 million to come up with updated disaster relief plans.

“The work will take several years, and we have to start right now,” Coiteux said.

The Montreal Metropolitan Community issued a statement on Thursday welcoming the news. The MMC will receive $5.5 million to update floodplain maps in the region, according to the plan. The MMC added it is also working to put in place a tool to forecast river levels three days in advance.

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