Storm Fiona: Military to help recovery efforts

STANLEY BRIDGE, PEI — An 80-year-old Nova Scotian missing since Friday was believed to have been swept out to sea during post-tropical storm Fiona, police said Monday.

The Halifax Detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said Larry Smith, an 81-year-old man from Lower Prospect, was last seen on Friday evening. However, the police have put an end to the intensive search carried out since, because it is now estimated that the octogenarian was swept away by the waves.

This is the second death attributed to the passage of the post-tropical storm in the Atlantic provinces. RCMP in the west island of Newfoundland had confirmed on Sunday that a 73-year-old woman from Port aux Basques had died after record-breaking storm surge flooded her home, destroyed her basement and l was swept out to sea. Her body was recovered on Sunday, but her identity has not yet been released.

In addition, the cause of death of another person on Prince Edward Island has not yet been determined, but the province’s acting director of public safety spoke on Sunday of « the use of a generator” during the power outage. No other details were provided.

Furthermore, the economic and social impact of this storm has not yet been fully assessed in the Maritimes, eastern Quebec and southwestern Newfoundland.

And power had not been restored as of Monday morning to 266,000 homes and businesses in Atlantic Canada. At the height of the storm on Saturday, more than 500,000 people were without power, including 80% of Nova Scotia Power customers and 90% of Prince Edward Island residents.

Even though crews were working around the clock to fix the lines, some utility companies warned it could be days before power is restored everywhere.

« We’ve been able to start getting a better view of some of these hardest hit areas with drones and helicopters, and it confirms the extent of the damage, » Nova Scotia Power spokesman Matt Drover said in a statement Monday. .

Mr Drover said the privatized service had to deal with thousands of trees down on power lines, hundreds of broken or bent poles, damaged transformers and streets blocked with debris. He said Nova Scotia Power sent more than 1,000 technicians to the field, including teams from New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and New England.

Port aux Basques

Rene Roy, editor of the Port aux Basques weekly ‘Wreckhouse Press’, said the community was still in shock as the storm swept several homes into the sea and destroyed many other residences.

The southwest region of the island of Newfoundland is used to major storms, Roy said, but Fiona’s impact was unlike anything the community has ever seen. « For the first time, everyone in town feared for their lives, » he said. Now 200 people are homeless.”

Defense Minister Anita Anand confirmed on Monday that HMCS Margaret-Brooke, one of the new military Arctic patrol vessels, will conduct checks in small communities along the south shore of Newfoundland .

Meanwhile, members of the Canadian Armed Forces are deployed to assist with recovery efforts.

Minister Anand confirmed that Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island would each be entitled to the support of around 100 soldiers, some of whom are already there. She said Monday that additional resources could be deployed if provinces so request.

The Magdalen Islands

As for Quebec, Minister Anand and her colleague Diane Lebouthillier, a local federal deputy, indicated Monday morning that there had been no requests for army assistance so far.

« The Rangers are our ears on the ground and they are there in all the provinces to tell us what the populations need, » said Minister Anand. At the moment, they are not saying that it is necessary for us to be there (in the Magdalen Islands), but we are still in contact with them and especially with the provincial government.

MNA Lebouthillier indicated that she had spoken on the telephone “with various partners at the level of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine”.

“I was told that we had crisis cells which were very well organized (…) and that for the moment, we did not have this need to have additional aid”, indicated the deputy. Federal Government of Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

Mr. Trudeau also promised that the federal government “will continue to be there to support (the people of the Magdalen Islands) as we support everyone in the region”.

« I know they’re used to storms too, but this one hit hard. »

Gusts at 149 km / h

In Prince Edward Island, the storm left Stanley Bridge on Saturday, washing out the main road. The outlook for the small town suddenly darkened, mainly due to damage to fishing boats, swept like scale models down the middle of the road by a « storm surge ».

The bridge that gave the town its name was submerged in floodwaters on Saturday morning as Fiona pounded the area, says Phyllis Carr, owner of Carr’s Oyster Bar.

Ms. Carr’s voice breaks as she sees the damage caused by the storm in this small community on the north shore of Prince Edward Island.

« It’s very sad for those of us who have lived here all our lives, and our parents before us, » she said of a sight that has become all too familiar in cities and towns across Atlantic Canada and the United States. eastern Quebec, hit hard this weekend by the « remnants » of Hurricane Fiona.

“Our life will change now around our port, our marina, for our fishing village, and for our fishermen.”

In the nearby city of Summerside, gusts reached 140 km / h. At East Point, winds reached 149 km/h, the strength of a Category 1 hurricane.

Restore power and reopen roads

Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said Sunday that the immediate need is to provide food and shelter to those displaced by the storm, so the federal government will match donations to the Canadian Red Cross.

He added that Ottawa will work with the provinces to determine what is needed to provide financial support to the disaster victims.

New Brunswick has already announced a disaster financial assistance program. Nova Scotia was expected to do the same on Monday.

Mr Blair said the first thing to do is restore power and utilities, but also clear roads to distribute essential supplies.

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