In response to last spring’s devastating flood in New Brunswick, an independent consultant group has been contracted to prepare a review of the provincial government’s response to the crisis.
It was a flood that impacted thousands of people from Fredericton to Saint John and small communities peppered in between.
The outside expert review will determine if the provincial government met their own expectations during the unprecedented weather event.
The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization or NBEMO received 2,972 damage reports and 1,185 applications for disaster financial assistance.
“NB EMO’s role is to respond to emergency and to assist communities in times of extraordinary need. Now an independent consultant Calian Group has been selected to conduct this review,” said Public Safety Minister Carl Urquart.
The newly-hired consultation group will meet with municipal councillors and members of the community affected by the flooding to see if the government can improve their response in the future. The meetings will be 90 minutes long and begin March 23 in Quispamsis.
“I know we’re going to have a lot of problems. I just want to know first of all what happened, was there anything there that could have been improved, and if there is I want to improve it,” said Urquart.
Urquart says experts told him the flooding wasn’t caused by the amount of snow but how fast it melted, in addition to heavy rainfall. They are now warning residents who live near the water to brace themselves for the 2019 flood season.
To prepare, the province has purchased a drone to assist with rescue procedures, gather information and to support planning so they can send the correct resources to locations hit by high waters.
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“Rather than send a person to conduct a recognizance or surveillance, we can send this piece of equipment. Rather than sending 100 people on a search, we might be able to effect the same capability by doing an over-flight,” said Greg Maccallum, EMO’s director.
With the spring flood season fast approaching, the NB EMO has doubled their number of regional emergency management coordinators from six to 12. The consultation group will make their report public once it is completed.