State of emergency declared in northern N.S., thousands still without power on P.E.I.
More than 16,000 customers in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are still without electricity 12 days after post-tropical storm Fiona hit the Maritimes on Sept. 23.
The ongoing outages and restoration efforts have prompted the Nova Scotia government to declare a state of emergency in several counties in northern Nova Scotia.
As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nova Scotia Power was reporting 2,195 active outages affecting 7,045 customers, with most outages reported in the Truro, Pictou County and Cape Breton areas.
According to the outage map, it is estimated power will not be restored in the Truro and Pictou areas until the weekend. Most estimates in Cape Breton indicate residents should have power back by Friday night.
“In Cape Breton, crews are working to restore the remaining customers by Friday, with a focus on the Mira area, including Grand Mira North, Albert Bridge, Marion Bridge, Louisbourg, Gabarus and Fourchu,” said Nova Scotia Power’s Cape Breton emergency operations centre lead, Mark Sidebottom, in a press release Wednesday afternoon.
“There are many downed trees on our equipment in these areas. Crews are rebuilding entire sections of lines and poles, clearing debris, fixing broken poles and installing new service lines to homes."
The utility’s northeast emergency operations centre lead Lia MacDonald also provided an update to customers Wednesday morning in a video posted to Twitter.
“Please know that we are here and working in your community day and night to restore your power as quickly and safely as we can and we’ll be here until the job is done,” she said.
“The damage Fiona has caused is historic. The repairs our crews are facing are complex. In many cases, in fact, the repairs are rebuilds.”
The utility says about 80 per cent of customers without power are individual homes that require one or more crews to complete final repairs.
STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED
To help with restoration efforts, John Lohr, the minister responsible for the Emergency Management Office, has requested additional support from the Canadian Armed Forces. The province says they will perform road work, including flagging and signage.
"Some Nova Scotians are well into their second week dealing with the effects of hurricane Fiona, and the Canadian Armed Forces continues to play a critical role in the restoration efforts in our communities," said Lohr in a news release Wednesday afternoon.
"This is an all-hands-on-deck approach. I want to thank the service members for their willingness to do this work to help Nova Scotians get their services back."
The province has also declared a state of emergency in the following areas:
- Antigonish County
- Cape Breton Regional Municipality
- Colchester County
- Cumberland County
- Guysborough County
- Inverness County
- Pictou County
- Richmond County
- Victoria County
The province says the state of emergency will allow the military to perform civilian road work and provide liability coverage. It will remain in effect for 14 days, unless the government terminates or extends it.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
On Prince Edward Island, 8,723 Maritime Electric customers were without power Wednesday afternoon. The largest concentration of customers is in the Charlottetown area.
In a news release Wednesday, the P.E.I. government said restoration efforts are ongoing across the island.
Five schools on the island remain closed Wednesday. A start date has not been announced for École Évangéline classes to move to to L'Exposition Agricole et le Festival Acadien grounds.
Prince Street Elementary, Queen Charlotte Intermediate, St. Jean Elementary and West Kent schools are also still closed.
Islanders without power are struggling without heat or hot water. In Charlottetown, residents do have access to the city’s water system for drinking and bathing, unlike rural residents living on wells on pumps.
The city says Fire Station #1 on Kent Street is open Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for anyone in need of a comfort centre.
The P.E.I. government has also compiled a list of about 30 reception centres open across the island.
Any resident needing temporary emergency shelter can call 211 or the Shelter Support Line directly at 1-833-220-4722.
Charlottetown residents can also seek temporary disaster shelter at the Murchison Centre.
In the province’s capital, fallen trees still litter in city parks. Trees that aren’t on houses or power lines have been deemed low priority.
The removal of debris from personal property won’t start until the demand for road clearing and clean-up efforts is reduced.
More information was posted online Tuesday on upcoming disposal schedules and waste drop-off operating hours.
TRUDEAU ANNOUNCES $300M FIONA RECOVERY FUND
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that the federal government is setting up a $300-million "Hurricane Fiona recovery fund" to help Atlantic Canadians rebuild from the deadly and destructive post-tropical storm.
As a result of storm surge and high winds from what’s been cited as one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall in Canada, a number of homes were swept out to sea. Businesses, bridges, airports and other infrastructure were also severely damaged.
"This funding will support projects to repair and rebuild storm-damaged critical infrastructures such as wharves, support the cleanup of fishing gear so that boats and marine life can once again safely navigate these waters, and of course help local businesses and communities rebuild and recover," Trudeau said Tuesday.
The fund will provide "up to an additional $300 million over two years, starting this year," according to the government, with the money to be administered through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) in co-ordination with the Canada Economic Development Agency for Quebec Regions (CED) as well as other related departments.
The federal government has yet to announce the specifics of how this funding will be allocated, other than the minister responsible for ACOA, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, telling reporters that while there are still some details to be worked out, "the money is going to be rolling out very quickly."
The federal government has previously committed to matching all Fiona-related donations made to the Canadian Red Cross until the end of the month, and has offered some tax deadline relief to those on the East Coast.
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