Tornado in Gatineau and Ottawa: “It’s as if someone dropped a bomb”

Many people have experienced strong emotions when the tornado fell on Friday night in Ottawa and Gatineau, taking with it roofs and debris, leaving a landscape of the end of the world.

Some residents of Ottawa and Gatineau do not have a home anymore. This is the case of Todd Nicholson, Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 2018 Paralympic Games. His home, located in Dunrobin, west of Ottawa, was severely affected by the tornado.

We lost quite a bit , he said on Saturday. Being in a wheelchair, there was so much debris that I could not get near my house .

His wife was able to go there, but all she saw was the foundations of the Nicholson family home, says the athlete, adding that the thing we need most is information . He hopes to be able to recover some effects in the coming days, including clothes for his children.

A scary episode

“I saw an uprooted tree pass my window,” said Michel Lépine, a resident of Deauville Street in Gatineau, still in shock after the disaster. “It’s like someone has dropped a bomb. It’s not nice to see. ”

In the aftermath of the disaster, Mr. Lépine’s memories are still alive.

It was the apocalypse […] we see this in the news in other countries when there are tornadoes, but to see that [here] … I was shocked , said the one who, still Saturday, did not have access to his housing. I am told that I do not have access to my building, but I have two cats in there. Of course I put a lot of food and water on them, but it’s really sad.

Mr. Lépine is far from the only one to have been afraid for his safety. Alexandra Forget was with her sister at the time the tornado struck.

A big storm was expected with hail and wind squalls , she said. But the situation grew to such an extent that they took refuge in the bathroom. Just as we entered the bathroom, the window of one of the two rooms exploded, she said.

I placed myself in a small room and started to see the tornado coming. I saw a lot of debris and I even felt the block flats vibrate , testified Denis Tessier, a disaster victim of the tornado in the area of ​​Mont-Bleu in Gatineau, interviewed Radio-Canada.

I was really scared, I grabbed my little dog and I hid, explained his wife.

The weather phenomenon formed around 5 pm on Friday and caused damage everywhere. Environment Canada confirmed that the same tornado struck on both sides of the river. The tornado could have been force 2, with winds of 179 to 218 km / h.

Assistance at the rendezvous

Leslie-Anne Barber, a councilor from Pontiac whose home was affected, welcomed the fact that citizens are on a “mutual aid” mode in the aftermath of the phenomenon. Everyone was talking to each other, everyone was shocked, of course, but in a state of mutual help to know what they were going to do and what to do next, she said.

For his part, Jean-Pierre Leroux, a pastor who lives in Gatineau, came to lend a hand to the victims of the Pontiac. We are a good group to give a hand. We are about twenty in all.

The group had been busying itself since the morning with clearing land and collecting debris. We help people, we ask them what they want us to do. People are very happy, they appreciate a lot , said Mr. Leroux.

Injured and stricken

In Ottawa, the Director General of Emergency and Protective Services, Anthony Di Monte, said 25 people were injured and treated by paramedics. Of these 25 people, six are seriously injured, five of whom live in the Dunrobin area.

In the Outaouais region, the Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CISSS) reports about 15 people requiring psychosocial assistance and [1] a fractured injured person.

In addition, our psychosocial support team is at work and is working with the authorities on the ground to support the victims , says the CISSS of the Outaouais, in an email addressed to Spruce Tribune.

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