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Quebecers evacuated over fears of dike breach won't be able to return before Dec. 17

A view of the Morier dike is seen near the town of Chute-Saint-Philippe, Que., in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Ministere de l'Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

MONT-LAURIER, Que. — Residents forced from their homes in Quebec's Laurentians region over fears a dike could burst and unleash a torrent of water won't be able to return for another 11 days.

Officials told a briefing today that an inspection of the Morier dike northwest of Montreal shows no deterioration since signs of erosion were detected on the weekend. 

Martin Ferland, an Environment Department engineer, says work to build a berm to stabilize the dike will begin on Saturday but the evacuation order will be maintained until Dec. 17

The provincially owned dike was built in 1954 and has the capacity to retain 382 million cubic metres of water, the equivalent of more than 100,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

In the event of a breach, homes and roads located downstream could be damaged by flooding or landslides.

Authorities also revised upwards the number of people who are currently evacuated in the municipalities of Chute-St-Philippe and Lac-des-Écorces to 1,900 and said the vast majority of them are staying with family and friends.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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