Cape Bretoners assess flood damage unleashed in wake of devastating storm

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WATCH ABOVE: Homeowners in Sydney were finally allowed to return home on Wednesday after this week's devastating storm. Global's Natasha Pace reports.

The rain and wind have subsided and much of the flood waters in Cape Breton have receded — but as residents of the Nova Scotia island are quickly realizing, the Thanksgiving weekend storm has caused extensive damage.

READ MORE: Cleanup begins in Cape Breton, Atlantic Canada after flooding, torrential rain

Part of Port Morien resident James Bates’ home is hanging off the side of a cliff, after heavy rains caused a washout seven metres deep and nearly five metres wide right under his home.

Bill Horne, a Sydney resident whose home sustained considerable damage when more than a metre of water flooded the area, said the high volume of water rushing through town was “just like Niagara Falls.”

“The brook got overwhelmed, washed out the guardrail and all down over this concrete here was just like Niagara Falls and the roar of water,” Horne said.

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Bates said he’s hoping the government steps in to help residents in the affected communities clean up and move forward from the destruction.

READ MORE: Cape Breton, Atlantic Canada deals with power outages, flooding after torrential rain

“Now it’s a waiting game I guess. I’ve been in contact with our county councillor and had conversations with him and in contact with insurance companies, trying to figure out whose responsibility this is,” Bates said.

“This is something, a labour I don’t want to take on myself.”

WATCH: Life in Atlantic Canada is slowly getting back to normal after a record-breaking rain storm fueled by the remnants of Hurricane Matthew. The fierce wind and rain swamped communities in Cape Breton and Newfoundland. As Ross Lord reports, they’re just beginning to count the costs. 
Click to play video 'East Coast slowly recovering after record-breaking rain storm' East Coast slowly recovering after record-breaking rain storm
East Coast slowly recovering after record-breaking rain storm

Damage from the flooding has also taken a toll on fishermen in the region. Darrick MacLeod says he half his fishing traps when a culvert gave way, and he now has to buy all new gear.

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“I don’t know if there’s any kind of financial assistance available for fisherman at this point, just going to see what happens day to day,” MacLeod said.

Premier looks to federal government

Premier Stephen McNeil met with emergency officials as well as surveyed the damage Wednesday morning, and was overwhelmed by the severity of some of the destruction.

“When you see what’s happening, trees being uprooted and taking roads with them, roads being washed out completely, the actual force of that water must be phenomenal,” McNeil said in Sydney.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes.”

He said they will be looking to the federal government for assistance, and encouraged those in affected areas to “look after your neighbours.”

“Let’s reach out to everyone, individually to make sure they’re OK, and then we can start working to make sure we can rebuild the infrastructure we’re missing, but it’ll require all of us.”

— with files from The Canadian Press