In an update Sunday regarding post-tropical storm Fiona’s devastation in the Atlantic provinces, federal officials confirmed that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) were on the ground in several provinces. for support and is on its way to other provinces.
The storm caused massive amounts of damage across Eastern provinces, with power lines down, homes destroyed and at least two deaths reported.
“Houses have been destroyed and washed away, communities are isolated and thousands of people are without electricity,” Anita Anand, Minister of National Defense, said at a press conference Sunday afternoon, adding. added that Nova Scotia, one of the hardest hit areas, is her home province.
About 100 CAF troops from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador each are either deployed or already on the ground, supporting cleanup efforts, she said, about three platoons per province.
This comes after aid requests from the provinces were approved today. Additional troops could be brought in to assist, she added, pending further information on the needs of the provinces.
“Protecting Canadians is clearly our top priority,” she said.
Their focus will be on helping clear debris and helping to re-establish power grids to get communications and power back on across the Atlantic provinces.
Dominic Leblanc, Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs, said in an update that the federal government will work with its provincial partners in the coming weeks to try to achieve some sort of normalcy.
“The Government of Canada stands ready to assist the provinces in the cleanup and recovery efforts that will take place over the coming days and weeks,” he said.
He added that while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed a desire to be on the ground, he does not want to get in the way of the cleanup and is waiting for a “right moment” when it is “his responsibility to visit.” “
When asked if the federal government would provide financial assistance to those who lost their homes and properties during the storm, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that a disaster financial assistance arrangement existing that the federal government has with the provinces will play an important role.
Through this program, provinces can make requests for funding, but the provinces have the “main locomotive” in identifying those who need aid.
The federal government did not provide an exact dollar amount to assist those devastated by the storm, instead announcing that it would combine donations from Canadians to the Red Cross. Canada.
Blair announced that the Red Cross would help with temporary housing arrangements for the displaced.
PROVINCE SELLING WITH AFTERMATH
Gudie Hutchings, rural economic development minister, providing an update from Newfoundland and Labrador, said that the death of a 73-year-old woman is believed to have been washed ashore in the town of Port aux Basques, NL, ” shows the power of water.”
“Living in coastal communities, we knew what could happen, and tragically, the sea took another soul.”
She added that the level of devastation caused to the property, including many completely destroyed homes, will mean the province will have a long recovery.
“We’re looking at a long time before we replace some of this infrastructure.”
On Prince Edward Island, communication remains a challenge, with MP Sean Casey noting that most of his information has been gathered by walking around talking to those affected.
It was mostly a “wind event” in PEI, he said, and that meant a lot of power cables broke. One death on the island has been reported and officials say generator problems may have played a role.
“Last night, in fact, the entire island was without electricity,” he said, adding that some areas are slowly regaining that power.
“Reconnecting to power and cell phones will be a challenge.”
According to Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, in Nova Scotia, reports of serious injuries are few and far between.
“Things on the ground at home are pretty tough through Nova Scotia and Cape Breton,” a Central Nova representative said, adding that driving was impossible due to debris and power lines on many streets.
He praised Nova Scotians’ resilience, saying they were “showing off what they were made for.”
In his community, a boy went missing, and people came together to search for him, he said. The child has been safely located.
Fraser added that he’s worried about harbor infrastructure and damage to farms.
Giving an update on the Magdalen Islands and the Gaspe region in Quebec, National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier also noted the need for better infrastructure to deal with increased extreme weather cases due to the crisis. caused by the climate crisis.
“Obviously we have to build the infrastructure to be able to face the reality that we are going through right now,” she said, adding that she spoke to a fisherman who caught lobster on Sunday, who told her, “I can’t imagine people who don’t believe in the climate crisis. “
Leblanc notes that long-term infrastructure is what the federal government is interested in investing in.
“I would certainly be open to looking at ways the Canadian government can strengthen the resilience of that infrastructure,” he said.