TORONTO (AP) — Canadian troops are being dispatched to assist in the recovery from the devastation of Storm Fiona, which ripped through homes, stripped roofs and cut power to the country’s Atlantic provinces.
After surging northward from the Caribbean as a hurricane, Fiona made landfall as a tropical cyclone on Saturday before dawn Saturday, battering Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Fiona with hurricane-strength winds, heavy rain and high waves Newfoundland and Quebec.
Defence Minister Anita Anand said Saturday that troops will help remove fallen trees and other debris, restore transport links and do whatever else is needed if needed. She did not specify how many troops would be deployed.
Fiona has been blamed for at least five deaths in the Caribbean, but has not confirmed any deaths or serious injuries in Canada. A woman who may have been swept away was listed as missing in the town of Channel-Port Aux Basques on Newfoundland’s southern coast, police said.
Raging waves crashed into the Basque harbour and the entire building was washed into the sea.
“I saw houses in the ocean. I saw rubble everywhere. It was utter devastation. One apartment was missing,” said René J. Roy, editor-in-chief of Wreckhouse Press and a resident of the town. Roy) said in a phone interview.
Roy estimated between 8 and 12 houses and buildings were washed into the sea. “It’s very scary,” he said.
The RCMP said the town of 4,000 was in a state of emergency with multiple electrical fires and residential flooding.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled a trip to Japan to attend the funeral of assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the extent of the damage became clear.
“We’re seeing devastating images from the Basque Port. PEI (Prince Edward Island) has experienced unprecedented storm damage. Cape Breton has also been hit hard,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau added: “There are people who see their homes destroyed and they are very concerned – we will be there for you.”
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said officials have moved 100 people to evacuation centers after the roof of an apartment building collapsed in Nova Scotia’s largest city. He said no one was seriously injured.
Other apartment buildings suffered significant damage, provincial officials said.
More than 415,000 Nova Scotia power customers — about 80 per cent of the province’s nearly 1 million people — were affected by the outage Saturday. More than 82,000 customers, or about 95%, in PEI also lost power, while NB Power in New Brunswick reported 44,329 customers were without power.
Unprecedented peak winds have wreaked havoc, with severe weather keeping maintenance crews out at first, said Nova Scotia Power President and CEO Peter Gregg. About 380,000 customers remained without power Saturday afternoon as a weakened Fiona moved over the Gulf of St. Louis, he said. Lawrence.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre tweeted that storm Fiona had the lowest pressure ever to make landfall in Canada. Forecasters have warned that this could be one of the strongest storms to hit the country.
“We’re getting more severe storms with increasing frequency,” Trudeau said.
He said more resilient infrastructure was needed to withstand extreme weather events, adding that because of climate change, storms that were once in 100 years could now come every few years.
“Things are only going to get worse,” Trudeau said.
Cape Breton has declared a state of emergency.
“Some of the homes were severely damaged as trees fell, large trees fell and caused significant damage,” Mayor Amanda McDougall told The Associated Press. “We also saw homes with completely torn roofs and broken windows. “There’s a lot of debris on the road.”
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said roads were washed away, including his own, and said an “incredible” number of trees were downed.
“It’s very disruptive,” Houston said.
Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King said few communities were spared and the devastation appeared to be beyond anything they had seen in the province before.
Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said Sydney Airport in Nova Scotia had suffered very much damage. Other airports were also hit, but the Halifax facility at Nova Scotia’s largest airport suffered minimal damage, he said.
In Cape Breton’s largest city, Sydney, Nova Scotia, about 20 people have taken refuge at the Centre 200 sports and entertainment facility, district spokeswoman Christina Lamy said. Lamy said hundreds of people were displaced in the province.
Arlene and Robert Grafilo fled to the 200 Centre with their children, aged 3 and 10, after a large tree collapsed in their duplex.
“We were stuck and couldn’t open the doors and windows, so 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’s never seen anything comparable to Fiona, despite “going through some crazy weather.”
He said he and his family had a long night and the wind continued into the afternoon.
“We did everything we could to avoid damage, but the house was devastated. Lost a lot of shingles, badly watered ceilings, walls, and our deck was destroyed. The garage I was building was blown away,” Mack said. Kay said in an email to The Associated Press.