Newfoundland and Labrador commits $30 million to Fiona relief fund

The province is willing to make more money available as the true financial impact becomes clearer, Premier Andrew Furey told reporters at the city council office in Port aux Basques, where dozens of homes were destroyed by Saturday’s storm and a woman died after being swept into the sea.

“We understand that this may not affect everyone, but it is an attempt to put money in the pockets of the people who need it most in this time of distress,” Furey said.

Residents must apply for the program through the Canadian Red Cross, and Furey said funds will be available as early as Monday to help those who don’t have insurance or need quick assistance during the emergency. evaluation of their requests. He encouraged people who fall through the cracks to contact a provincial helpline and explain their situation.

Meanwhile, residents of southwestern Newfoundland continued to dig through the rubble of their former homes on Wednesday, eagerly awaiting information on whether insurance would cover their losses. Many wonder where they will stay for the long term, after their homes have been ripped from their foundations and, in some cases, swept away.

While the actual number of displaced residents is not yet known, Furey said the province is aware of 75 displaced households in Port aux Basques and more than a dozen in surrounding communities.

Under the relief package, the government said $1,000 would be available for each household whose members have been temporarily evacuated but are able to return home by September 30. Displaced households whose members cannot return by September 30 are eligible for $10,000.

Furey said $500,000 will go to the Red Cross to help people with resettlement and other personal needs. An additional $500,000 will be distributed among affected communities. Any additional money will go towards reconstruction efforts, the prime minister added, although he noted that the work would take time and require coordination between levels of government and affected residents.

The rebuilding process will also take into account the likelihood of more frequent intense storms in the future, Furey said, as well as the wishes of many residents who now fear rebuilding or returning to homes so close to the coast.

Furey said he would like Trudeau to know that Ottawa “needs to be here with financial support” after the storm, which was “devastating” for residents of the southwest coast.

The Canadian Armed Forces were on the ground in Newfoundland on Wednesday conducting wellness checks and visiting some small, isolated coastal communities without cell phone service since Saturday’s storm.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 28, 2022.

Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press

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