Quebec offers $60m in aid after deadly blast

2014-07-14 09:10
The downtown core lays in ruins as fire fighters tried to water smouldering rubble in Lac Megantic, Quebec. (Ryan Remiorz, AP)

The downtown core lays in ruins as fire fighters tried to water smouldering rubble in Lac Megantic, Quebec. (Ryan Remiorz, AP)

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Montreal - Quebec's government offered an additional $60m on Sunday to Lac-Megantic, the town devastated by last year's deadly train explosion in which 47 people were killed, local media reported.

Most of the extra funds will go to businesses in the town's still rebuilding core, the CBC said, quoting minister of municipal affairs and land occupancy Pierre Moreau.

He said the town in French-speaking Quebec province so far has received $409m in government aid since the disaster, Canada's worst in 15 years.

A 72-car oil train derailed in the early morning hours of 6 July 2013.

The train carrying 7.2 million litres of crude oil from the US state of North Dakota to a refinery in easternmost Canada came loose in the middle of the night, rolled downhill unmanned and derailed in the centre of town.

The picturesque lakeside town of Lac-Megantic was forever transformed. Fire-fighters needed two days to put out the raging blaze. Seven of the dead were never identified.

With the boom in production of non-conventional oil in North America, the number of train cars carrying fuel in Canada has gone from 500 in 2009 to 160 000 in 2013, while in the United States, it soared from 10 800 to 400 000 in the same period.

Light crude shale oil, 100 tons of which were carried in each car involved in the accident was more flammable than officially stated until then.

So the Canadian government subsequently decided to classify oil as a highly hazardous material.
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