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Belleville, Ont., battles flooding as conditions expected to worsen

Kasey, an Australian Collie, sits in a canoe in Foxboro, Ont., just north of Belleville on Friday, April 11.

Lars Hagberg/THE CANADIAN PRESS

City workers and volunteers worked all day Saturday piling sandbags around residences north of Belleville, Ont., where a severe flood is forcing some people from their homes and putting others on alert.

Michael Oosting, 20, volunteered for most of the day and said the conditions are "some of the worst he's seen." He heard the Belleville fire chief say he expects the Moira River to rise another 13 inches.

Jennifer May-Anderson, the communications manager with Quinte Conservation, had more optimistic information. In an update based on conditions at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, she said the Moira River is as high as it should get, given the current conditions.

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But she gives a qualifier: "Things will likely change because of the forecasted rain."

Environment Canada is forecasting showers starting overnight in Belleville on Saturday, continuing on and off until Tuesday.

Ms. May-Anderson said the Moira and Salmon Rivers have not reached their 2008 peak levels, which was the last time the area had a major flood. The Napanee River further east has exceeded 2008 levels.

About sixty homes located in the Moira River floodplain are at risk and Ms. May-Anderson said some people have been evacuated but she didn't know how many.

She said a large snowpack in the northern part of the watershed together with spring rainfall caused the flooding.

The flood is particularly upsetting for a woman who recently purchased a house in the affected area. The woman told Mr. Oosting she wasn't informed by her lawyers or real estate agent that it was a floodplain area.

"She was right shocked," he said.

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Mr. Oosting urges people in the area to come out and help the relief effort. Volunteers will be needed on Sunday and Monday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The flood is concentrated in Foxboro, an area north of the city of Belleville.

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