Canada sends troops to clean up the devastation of Hurricane Fiona

Hundreds of thousands of people in Atlantic Canada remained without power on Sunday, with officials sweeping the extent of devastation caused by former Hurricane Fiona, which washed away homes, ripped off roofs and knocked out power across the country’s Atlantic provinces. I tried to evaluate

After making its way north from the Caribbean, Fiona made landfall as a tropical storm before dawn on Saturday, hitting Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Quebec with hurricane-strength winds, heavy rains and huge waves.

Defense Minister Anita Anand said the Canadian military would clear fallen trees across eastern Canada, restore transportation networks, and do whatever else needed to the best of its ability. She did not specify how many units will be deployed.

Fiona is believed to have died in at least five people in the Caribbean, and although no deaths have been confirmed in Canada, officials said on Sunday that the worst-hit area of ​​Channelport Obersk on Newfoundland’s south coast had been killed. I was looking for a missing woman in a small town.

“It is very likely that she was swept out to sea, but we have not been able to confirm that,” said Cpl. Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Jolene Garland.

tropical storm fiona
Damage from Tropical Storm Fiona in Port Aubasque, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, September 24, 2022 (Rosalyn Roy/Wreckhouse Press via The Canadian Press via AP)

As of Sunday morning, Prince Edward Island’s more than 256,000 Nova Scotia Power customers and over 82,000 Maritime Electric customers (about 95% of the total) are in darkness. So did the more than 20,600 homes and businesses in New Brunswick.

More than 415,000 Nova Scotia Power customers (approximately 80% of the state of nearly 1 million people) were affected by Saturday’s outage.

Utility companies say it could be several days before lights return to everyone.

Cape Breton Municipal Mayor Amanda McDougall said on Sunday that more than 200 people had been evacuated and were in temporary shelters. In her area she has made more than 70 roads completely inaccessible and a state of emergency has been declared. She said she couldn’t count the number of damaged homes in her neighborhood.

She said it was important for the military to arrive and help clean up the debris, noting that the road to the airport was inaccessible and the tower was severely damaged.

McDougall said it’s amazing that he’s injury-free.

“People heeded the warnings and did what they had to do, and this is the result,” she said.

Prince Edward Island Prime Minister Dennis King said few communities were spared and the devastation appeared to exceed anything the state had seen before.

Raging waves hit Port-au-Basque, Newfoundland, and the entire structure was swept out to sea.

Mayor Brian Button said on social media: “Thankfully, the weather is much nicer outside this morning, giving us the opportunity to wait and see and assess the damage.

“This is not a one-day situation where we can all get back to normal. Unfortunately, this could take days, weeks, or even months.”

Most of the town of 4,000 people has been evacuated, and Mr. Button said on Sunday officials would identify areas where people could safely return home. He pointed out that he was showing up at the barricade wanting to go home.

Government officials in eastern Canada were assessing the full extent of damage caused by the storm now that the storm has subsided for most places.Fiona has moved inland to southeastern Quebec.

The disaster prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cancel a trip to Japan for the funeral of assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“We are seeing devastating images coming out of Port au Basque. It’s been hit hard,” Trudeau said.

“There are people who are very concerned to see their homes destroyed. We are there for you,” Trudeau added.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said an apartment roof collapsed in Nova Scotia’s largest city, prompting authorities to move 100 people to shelters. He said no one was seriously injured.

The Canadian Hurricane Center wrote on Twitter that pressure at Fiona had the lowest pressure ever recorded for a landfalling storm in Canada, a key indication of storm intensity.

Trudeau said: “The more intense storms are occurring more frequently.

He said more resilient infrastructure is needed to withstand extreme weather events, and climate change means that storms that were once once in 100 years may come every few years. said there is

Former Nova Scotia Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense Peter McKay said he had never seen anything quite like Fiona in the night and afternoon winds.

“We did everything we could to keep it out of harm’s way, but the house took quite a toll. We lost a lot of shingles, there was a lot of water damage to the ceiling and walls, and the deck was destroyed. The garage I was building was blown up,” McKay said in an email to the Associated Press.

Rob Gillies

Associated Press