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Quebec warns no emergency shelters for spring flooding amid COVID-19 outbreak


MONTREAL — Quebec's public security minister is warning that due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the province will not be able to open emergency shelters in the event of spring flooding.

Genevieve Guilbault says the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way civil security handles emergencies and flooding will no be exception.

Guilbault says due to the risk of contamination, the province won't open shelters for those affected by flooding as they did last year when thousands were forced from their homes.

She has instead asked municipalities to secure hotels or university dorms to house any displaced citizens.

They will also need to arrange other resources such as catering, hygiene products and supplies needed to limit the spread of the virus.

Guilbault is calling on residents in high-risk areas to think carefully about where they'll go if they're flooded out of the their homes.

"We hope to be spared floods, but we must be ready to face this additional issue that could threaten several regions," she said. "I'm aware we're asking for a huge effort, but this is an exceptional context which requires us to act accordingly."

Guilbault says she spoke to municipal leaders in the Outaouais and Monteregie regions on Monday and hopes to speak to other at-risk areas in the coming days.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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