Saguenay evacuates 53 residences, landslide danger looms

Dozens of families in Saguenay’s La Baie neighbourhood were forced out of their homes late Saturday.

The city of Saguenay and the Saguenay Fire Department ordered the emergency evacuation of 53 homes. The latest order comes just days after 24 other residences were evacuated following a landslide that swept away a house on Monday.

Authorities worry another landslide might take place in the area. They asked residents to leave their homes by Sunday morning.

Several families left the area taking as many things as possible with them. Some went to stay with relatives, while the city redirected those who had no place to go to a shelter at the Centre des sports Jean-Claude Tremblay.

So far, 76 families have been displaced, according Saguenay Mayor Julie Dufour.

Potential landslide

The city was informed Saturday that the ground in the area was more unstable than previously believed and that more homes could be at risk.

During a news conference Saturday evening at the Saguenay Fire Department headquarters, municipal authorities said this is a major event, and they are taking it seriously.

At a news conference late Saturday, Saguenay Mayor Julie Dufour, left, said everything would be done to support victims. (Jonathan Lamothe/Radio-Canada)

At 4 p.m. Saturday, Quebec’s Transport Ministry informed Saguenay that the ground could easily crumble and that conditions were similar to those observed in the nearby community of Saint-Jean-Vianney in 1971, when a major landslide killed 31 people in the Shipshaw area.

Lengthy evacuation

Officials warn the evacuation order could remain in place for weeks, or even months.

“We are doing everything we can to help relocate these people, to give them information. They are our number one priority,” Dufour added. “And I am asking everyone to collaborate as soon as possible, to take things calmly.”

All those affected by the evacuation will be taken care of, local authorities assured. Saguenay is inviting those affected to call (418) 699-6000 for support.

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