Canada Assesses Storm Damage

Long recovery will require efforts of thousands, officials say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 25, 2022 4:45 PM CDT
Canada Begins Storm Recovery
A photo provided by Pauline Billard shows destruction caused by the storm in Rose Blanche.   (Pauline Billard via AP)

Hundreds of thousands of people in Atlantic Canada remained without power Sunday, and officials tried to assess the scope of devastation from former Hurricane Fiona, which swept away houses, stripped off roofs, and blocked roads across the country's Atlantic provinces. After surging north from the Caribbean, Fiona came ashore before dawn Saturday as a post-tropical cyclone, battering Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Quebec with hurricane-strength winds, rains and waves. Defense Minister Anita Anand said troops would help remove fallen trees, restore transportation links, and do whatever else is required for as long as it takes. She didn't specify how many troops would be deployed.

Fiona was blamed for at least five deaths in the Caribbean, and while there were no confirmed fatalities in Canada, authorities on Sunday were searching for a 73-year-old woman missing in Channel-Port Aux Basques, a town on the southern coast of Newfoundland. Police said the woman was last seen inside the residence moments before a wave struck the home Saturday morning, tearing away a portion of the basement. As of Sunday, more than 252,000 Nova Scotia Power customers and over 82,000 Maritime Electric customers in the province of Prince Edward Island—about 95% of the total—remained in the dark. So were more than 20,600 homes and businesses in New Brunswick. More than 415,000 Nova Scotia Power customers—about 80% in the province of almost 1 million people—had been affected by outages Saturday. Utility companies say it could be days before the lights are back on for everyone.

Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Amanda McDougall said Sunday that over 200 people were in temporary shelters. Over 70 roads were completely inaccessible in her region. She said she couldn't count the number of homes damaged in her own neighborhood. McDougall said it was critical for the military to arrive and help clear debris, noting that the road to the airport is inaccessible and that the tower has significant damage. Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King said that over 100 military personnel would arrive Sunday to assist in recovery efforts. Schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday. He said many bridges are destroyed. "The magnitude and severity of the damage is beyond anything that we've seen in our province’s history," King said, adding that it would take a "herculean effort by thousands of people" to recover over the coming days and weeks.

(Read more Hurricane Fiona stories.)

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