Canada Military to Clean Up After Fiona09/25 08:14
Canadian troops are being sent to assist the recovery from the devastation
of storm Fiona, which swept away houses, stripped off roofs and knocked out
power across the country's Atlantic provinces.
TORONTO (AP) -- Canadian troops are being sent to assist the recovery from
the devastation of storm Fiona, which swept away houses, stripped off roofs and
knocked out power across the country's Atlantic provinces.
After surging north from the Caribbean as a hurricane, Fiona came ashore
before dawn Saturday as a post-tropical cyclone, battering Nova Scotia, Prince
Edward Island, Newfoundland and Quebec with hurricane-strength winds, heavy
rains and huge waves.
Defense Minister Anita Anand said Saturday that troops would help remove
fallen trees and other debris, 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, but there was no
confirmation of any fatalities or serious injuries in Canada. Police said a
woman who might have been swept away was listed as missing in the town of
Channel-Port Aux Basques on the southern coast of Newfoundland.
Raging surf pounded Port Aux Basques and entire structures were washed into
"I'm seeing homes in the ocean. I'm seeing rubble floating all over the
place. It's complete and utter destruction. There's an apartment that is gone,"
Ren J. Roy, chief editor at Wreckhouse Press and a resident of the twon, said
in a phone interview.
Roy estimated between eight to 12 houses and buildings had washed into the
sea. "It's quite terrifying," he said.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the town of 4,000 people was in a
state of emergency with multiple electrical fires and residential flooding.
As the extent of damage became clear, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau canceled
his trip to Japan for the funeral for assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo
"We are seeing devastating images coming out of Port aux Basques. PEI
(Prince Edward Island) has experienced storm damage like they've never seen.
Cape Breton is being hit hard, too," Trudeau said.
"There are people who see their houses destroyed, people who are very
worried -- we will be there for you," Trudeau added.
Mike Savage, mayor of Halifax, said the roof of an apartment building
collapsed in Nova Scotia's biggest city and officials had moved 100 people to
an evacuation center. He said no one was seriously hurt.
Provincial officials said other apartment buildings sustained significant
More than 415,000 Nova Scotia Power customers -- about 80% of the province
of almost 1 million people -- were affected by outages Saturday. Over 82,000
customers in the province of Prince Edward Island, about 95%, also lost power,
while NB Power in New Brunswick reported 44,329 were without electricity.
Peter Gregg, president and CEO of Nova Scotia Power, said unprecedented peak
winds inflicted severe damage and the bad weather kept repair crews from going
out at first. He said about 380,000 customers remained without power Saturday
afternoon as a weakening Fiona moved away over the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre tweeted that Fiona had the lowest pressure
ever recorded for a storm making landfall in Canada. Forecasters had warned it
could be the one of the most powerful storms to hit the country.
"We're getting more severe storms more frequently," Trudeau said.
He said more resilient infrastructure is needed to withstand extreme weather
events, saying that what was once a one-in-100 year storm might now arrive
every few years because of climate change.
"Things are only getting worse," Trudeau said.
A state of local emergency was declared in the Cape Breton Regional
"There are homes that have been significantly damaged due to downed trees,
big old trees falling down and causing significant damage," Mayor Amanda
McDougall told The Associated Press. "We're also seeing houses that their roofs
have completely torn off, windows breaking in. There is a huge amount of debris
in the roadways."
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said roads were washed out, including his
own, and said an "incredible" amount of trees had been blown over.
"It is pretty devastating," Houston said.
Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King said few communities were spared
damage, with the devastation looking to be beyond anything they had seen
previously in the province.
Federal Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said there was very
extensive damage at the airport in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He said other airports
also were hit, but that damage at the Halifax facility, Nova Scotia's largest
airport, was minor.
In Sydney, Nova Scotia, the largest city on Cape Breton, about 20 people
took refuge at the Centre 200 sports and entertainment facility, said Christina
Lamey, a spokeswoman for the region. Lamey said hundreds of people had been
displaced in the province.
Arlene and Robert Grafilo fled to Centre 200 with their children, ages 3 and
10, after a big tree toppled on their duplex apartment.
"We were trapped and we couldn't open the doors and the windows, so that's
when we decided to call 911," Arlene Grafilo said. She said firefighters
eventually rescued them.
Peter MacKay, a former foreign minister and defense minister who lives in
Nova Scotia, said he had never seen anything to match Fiona even though he has
"lived through some crazy weather."
He said that he and his family had a long night and that the winds had raged
into the afternoon.
"We had put everything we could out of harm's way, but the house got
hammered pretty hard. Lost lots of shingles, heavy water damage in ceilings,
walls, our deck is destroyed. A garage that I was building blew away," MacKay
said in an email to AP.