A herculean effort

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Added: Wed, 05/24/2017 - 10:11pm
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In the last several weeks, rising waters and heavy rainfall left many Pontiac
residents residing along the river's edge facing a tremendous battle to save their homes, properties, and belongings. It was a problem faced province-wide, both in Quebec and Ontario. In Quebec alone, more than 170 municipalities were
affected, more than 4,000 homes were flooded, and upwards of 3,000 people were evacuated.
The Pontiac was severely hit; two municipalities, Mansfield and the Municipality of Pontiac (where about 200 residents were evacuated and at least 40,000 sandbags were distributed), declared a state of emergency and called on the army to intervene. The Pontiac's tightly-knit, supportive characteristics were once again demonstrated as hundreds of volunteers, municipal employees, and fire department members dedicated their time - sometimes in the pouring rain - to helping those in need and filling and installing tens of thousands of sandbags. They weren't there for the photo-ops! The group effort was remarkable and everyone should be very proud.
The many pictures displayed on TV, in newspapers, and on social media only
displayed snapshots of the heartbreaking realities faced by so many people and they clearly illustrated the painful result of what happens when mankind comes face-to-face with Mother Nature's fury – an “act of god”. 
With the water levels receding, one major battle has been overcome, but as Pontiac Mayor Roger Larose said in an interview, “we are just getting started”. The battle is only partly over and municipalities and their residents are now
climbing one more major mountain before leaving this tragedy in the past. 
Aside from cleaning up the large amount of debris that floated in with the rising waters, homeowners need to assess the damages to their homes (some homes were only minimally damaged, while others are in need of considerable repairs) and apply for any financial aid that is available to them (see page xx). Sewer systems and water supplies need be tested to confirm they are working properly and are not contaminated, including municipal infrastructure. Work is needed to repair several roads and sandbags are being removed and hauled away.  
The clean-up stage could take a significant amount of time and it may be a while before some residents are able to return to their homes and everyday lives. It's important that we as a community continue to support these individuals and our municipalities in restoring order in the same way we have always pulled together in the past when faced with tragedies.
The end is in sight; continue to help each other along to the finish line.

Allyson Beauregard
Managing Editor