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Six months after Fiona, repair work continues in Cape Breton

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Six months after post-tropical storm Fiona hit the Martimes, many people are still trying to recover from its devastating impacts.

“We are very busy. We have five crews out there right now working on five different projects,” said Roman Heuft, the Cape Breton Response Coordinator for the Mennonite Disaster Service.

Heuft says their work started soon after the storm by helping with tree cutting and replacing damaged roofs. Their focus has now shifted to renovations inside.

“We currently have 18 projects on the board and we're expecting to triple that before we're done,” said Heuft.

A request for help needs to go through United Way Cape Breton, who then transfers the request to the Mennonites.

Funding comes from donations made to the Christian group, which consists of volunteers from across Canada.

“I was very, very happy to hear that they were coming back, and when they arrived, we had a waitlist of things for them to do,” said Lynne McCarron, United Way Cape Breton Executive Director.

McCarron says she didn't have a referral process for people calling looking for help because of a lack of contractors able to do the work in the area.

She says many people are still backed up with insurance claims and, without the Mennonites, they'd be in a dire situation.

“When those calls were coming in and I don't have a place to send them, it was a little hard to handle,” said McCarron.

Heuft says their group is in Cape Breton with a national response this time around, which means more equipment and more workers.

“We decided that there is sufficient meaningful work to allow volunteers to come and serve here in Cape Breton,” said Heuft.

Heuft says the group is prepared to stay in Cape Breton until the end of October.

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