Fewer N.B. flood victims apply for assistance in 2019
New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization says it’s surprised more residents haven’t taken advantage of flood assistance this year. Despite 2019’s flooding being equally as devastating as 2018’s flooding, the province has received just a third of the applications it did in the previous year.
During both years, many people experienced flooding inside their homes. However, reaction has been different to the most recent flood.
“We received about 2200 applications that weren’t from recreational property owners last year,” says NBEMO spokesperson, Geoffrey Downey. “This year, we received 679. That's about a third – we don't know exactly why that is.”
With the application deadline for disaster financial assistance on August 30, the organization is surprised and unsure why it’s received less than half the number of applications it received in summer 2018.
“We don't know if people have decided it's not worth filing, or maybe insurance is covering their damage,” says Downey. “But we're encouraging people if they're still in the process – help is available.”
In 2018, there were nearly 80 “buyouts,” in which the province bought homes which had 80 percent of their value damaged – in 2019 there have been two buyouts.
While NBEMO feels numbers are low, flooding victim, Markus Harvey, isn't surprised less people are looking for assistance.
“I think it’s probably because, in 2018, it was kind of a purge, it caught everybody with their pants down – it was a really, really steep learning curve for everybody both on the ground, locally and in government,” says Harvey. “To the credit of everyone, we kind of all learned from 2018. When it came through to 2019, we were a lot more prepared for what was going to happen, and those numbers reflect that.”
While Harvey did apply in 2018, he didn’t in 2019 and believes most people who received assistance in the previous year took proactive measures – including raising their homes.
Meanwhile, NBEMO continues to encourage flood victims to use its support and assistance if they’re in need.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown