01/28/2015 09:36 EST | Updated 03/30/2015 05:59 EDT

Lac-Mégantic: Report into post-disaster health effects released

Quebec health authorities' report into the health effects of the Lac-Mégantic, Que., train derailment and explosion and oil spill indicates nearly two-thirds of 800 people studied suffered human loss, and over half experienced negative feelings such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In July 2013, a freight train carrying 72 cars of oil derailed and exploded in the centre of Lac-Mégantic.

The explosion led to the deaths of 47 people, and an estimated 100,000 litres of oil spilled into the Chaudière River as a consequence of the derailment.

Estrie public health director Dr. Mélissa Généreux, public health specialist Dr. Geneviève Petit and Danielle Maltais, an expert on the health consequences of major disasters, presented their findings Wednesday in Sherbrooke.  

Interviews with the 800 residents of the Granit MRC (regional county municipality) found:

- 64 per cent had a human loss (fear for their lives or that of a loved one, was injured, etc.)

- 23 per cent had a material loss.

- 54 per cent had a negative perception (depression, post-traumatic stress, etc.)

- 17 per cent of people had an "intense exposure" (e.g. experienced all three of the above.)

Lac-Mégantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche will react to the findings Wednesday afternoon.