Search for those swept away by Ontario floodwaters during storm comes up empty
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OTTAWA – Search parties have turned up no trace of those swept away by the unprecedented flood waters that deluged dozens of communities last month.
Nearly 2.5 million properties were isolated by water in homes, businesses, and government buildings across the province, some of which have been swept away, but there was no way for people to reach out to loved ones who are trying to get in touch with loved ones.
The search for those believed to be missing has gone on for many days, while those still being tracked include those who took advantage of Toronto’s evacuation order, people who chose to ride out the storm in their cars, and those who were found trapped on boats or in their homes.
The government has said it does not expect any of the missing to be in desperate condition.
“It is a situation of trying to get the word out there,” said Jim Brown, Ontario’s chief public servant. “This is a public-safety issue, and we want to make sure that the information we get out there is accurate.”
The search and rescue teams, along with police and emergency workers, have been working non-stop since the flood waters began to subside Saturday – a day before what would have been the holiday weekend in Canada – but so far have turned up little.
“There has been some speculation that somebody was in a boat, that they are in the water or on a plane,” Brown said. “We have not received any information to that effect so far.
“We cannot have anyone out there when we don’t even know what’s there.”
The worst of the floodwaters swept away communities across the province.
In downtown Toronto, the Ontario and Toronto fire departments were assisting with search for a person reported missing.
At the time of the storm, the province was expecting 150,000 people to be forced to evacuate because of the high water risk. Officials say they have now confirmed the high numbers of people in shelters.
That total includes people who came in because of the evacuation orders, people left behind or living in temporary housing, people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by extreme weather, and those who stayed behind when people