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The Globe and Mail

More soldiers brought in to join Quebec flood relief operation

Gerald Racine, the lone resident staying in his his flooded neighbourhood looks out his street in St-Paul-de-I'Ile-aux-Noix, May 6, 2011.

christinne muschi The Globe and Mail

More soldiers were brought in Saturday to help residents cope in the flood-ravaged region south of Montreal.

Water levels have dropped slightly since Friday, though authorities warned the crisis isn't over yet and another 100 Canadian Forces members were called on for assistance.

In all, 800 troops are helping flood victims throughout a large swath of land that stretches south of Montreal to the U.S. border.

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Some 3,000 homes are still flooded and more than 1,000 people have been forced to leave their homes.

Soldiers are using inflatable boats to rescue stranded residents and sandbags to control the water.

The Canadian Red Cross announced the creation of a special fund to compliment government assistance programs, offering shelter and other assistance to those most affected.

After an unusually snowy winter and heavy rain earlier in the week, floods have covered rows of streets along the Richelieu River.

While provincial authorities say the clear skies for the past two days helped, water levels aren't expected to drop significantly before the beginning of next week.

Philippe Jobin, a spokesman for the province's Public Security Department, urged residents to be cautious when they finally do return home.

"One need only think of the electrical distribution boxes," Jobin said. "In many cases they are located in the basement, and can be wet."

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There is also concern that flood waters are rising sharply in parts of central Quebec, which had previously been hit less heavily than the area near the U.S. border.

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