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Public Safety Minister praises flood relief efforts, stresses recovery will take time

Ralph Goodale toured the flood zones in Cumberland and Clarence-Rockland on Thursday morning.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale tours the flood zone in Cumberland with Mayor Jim Watson, MP Francis Drouin abd Councillor Stephen Blais. Jenn Pritchard, May 2, 2019

Canada's Public Safety Minister was joined by local leaders on Thursday, to get a closer look at the damage done by the rising water along the Ottawa River.

Ralph Goodale explained that water levels are expected to peak in our region by the end of the week, but that it will take a while for the water to recede.
"The recovery itself will take a while to get started, because those high water levels will stay about where they are, maybe a little bit less, for another week — assuming no more significant precipitation," said Goodale.
Goodale praised the efforts of the military, volunteers and the flood victims themselves, who have spent hours filling and stacking sandbags. He explained that many of the homeowners were happy to see the armed forces out helping, but that people are starting to get weary.
"But I didn't get any sense of resignation or giving up or defeatism," said Goodale. "People are going to fight this and they're going to win. A lot of friends, neighbours and volunteers are turning up to help. "
Goodale noted that the situation isn't expected to get any worse at this point, but that getting better will take some time.
"It will take time to recover and time to rebuild. People are going to need the patience to get through that and the support systems to get through that."
It was a sentiment echoed by Ottawa mayor Jim Watson.
"The cleanup of these sites is going to be a tremendous, tremendous challenge for the residents," Watson explained. "You've seen on properties, people have seen swing sets and benches and picnic tables and lumber all contaminated because of the septic systems and we're going to need a lot of help in the weeks ahead." 
Both the mayor and Minister Goodale stressed the need for anyone affected by the floods to sign up with the Red Cross, as it helps the government keep track of everyone and their needs going forward.  
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