US & Canada

Four feared dead in British Columbia and Quebec floods

Residents in a canoe paddle on the flooded streets in Pierrefonds on Sunday May 7, 2017. Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption More than 130 communities in Quebec have been hit by the flooding, with an estimated 1,500 homes affected and 850 people forced to evacuate

Four people are missing after some of the worst flooding in decades in parts of Canada.

In the eastern province of Quebec, police are searching for a man and a toddler who were swept away after their car swerved into a river.

In British Columbia (BC), on the other side of the country, rescue crews are searching for two men, including a fire chief who went missing late Friday.

Flooding has also affected the provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption With heavy rains persisting and waters still rising over much of waterlogged eastern Canada, the nation's military tripled the number of troops urgently working to evacuate thousands of residents

Quebec's deluge has been caused by a combination of melting snow and much heavier than average spring rainfall in April and May.

The inundation has affected 146 Quebec communities and created more than 1,500 evacuees.

In eastern Quebec, police say a man and a toddler are still missing after their car was swept into the swollen Riviere Sainte-Anne in the Gaspé region on Sunday night.

The mother of the toddler was able to escape, but she lost sight of her boyfriend and her child, said constable Claude Dorion.

A helicopter searched the area on Sunday night, and dozens of emergency services workers have helped, he told the BBC.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Residents in a canoe paddle on the flooded streets in Pierrefonds, a Montreal suburb

Crews dredged the lake on Monday afternoon to look for bodies, Mr Dorion said.

In BC, search and rescue teams are looking for Cache Creek Fire Chief Clayton Cassidy, 59.

He was checking creek-flow levels in the province's interior late on Friday before going missing. He is presumed dead, RCMP Corporal Dan Moskaluk told the BBC.

A 76-year-old man is still unaccounted for following a landslide in Tappen, BC, on Saturday and teams there are also on site.

Image copyright Twitter/Canadian Forces
Image caption Some 1,650 soldiers are deployed in the flood zones

"Our thoughts and prayers are with their families," Federal Public Safety Ralph Goodale said during a news conference on flood relief efforts.

Mr Goodale also said more Canadian troops are being deployed to Quebec.

About 1,650 soldiers and support personnel are helping flood victims and sand-bagging homes.

Schools are closed in numerous municipalities. There are currently 1,520 evacuees in the province.

Image copyright Twitter/Montreal Alertes
Image caption Some 250,000 sandbags had been filled in Quebec by Monday

Some 2,500 homes and 427 roads were flooded throughout Quebec. Ten towns have declared a state of emergency, including the province's largest city, Montreal.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said city officials are considering extending that state of emergency for another five days.

The floodwaters are expected to peak in Montreal late on Monday.

The Canadian Red Cross has launched a campaign asking for donations for those affected by the flooding.

Canada's national capital region has also seen severe flooding, with high water levels in the Ottawa and Rideau rivers.

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Media captionHeavy rain and melting snow combined to cause the flooding.

Officials in Ottawa and Gatineau have asked the federal government for additional supplies to help deal with the deluge after having run out of sandbags.

Federal civil servants were told to stay home on Monday to help keep roads clear for emergency vehicles. Federal government offices located in Gatineau, on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, were closed on Monday.

Flood levels in the Ottawa River are stabilising in the region though it will take several days for the water to recede to normal levels, despite light snowfall on Monday morning.

David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, said the spring rainfall in the flooded regions is historic.

"We've had anywhere in eastern Canada of two to three times the (normal) amount of rain, and breaking records by a long shot," he said.

Since 1 April, Montreal alone received 232mm (9in) of rain. Mr Phillips said the average for the city is 86mm (3.4in). The previous record was 162mm (6.4in).

"It's rained hard, it's rained often," he said. "It's like that dark cloud that hangs over you and won't leave you."

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