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As flood waters in Saint John recede, the cleanup begins

As flood waters in Saint John recede the cleanup begins
WATCH: Those living along the St. John River are assessing the damage after mass flooding. The City of Saint John and The Canadian Red Cross are offering clean up kits to those who need them. As Silas Brown tells us tonight, that's just the start.

For the second year in a row, the St. John River knocked on Mike Clark’s door.

“Last year, it was up within two inches of my door. This year it was about a foot,” he said.

As water levels recede, Clark says he’ll spend the next couple weeks cleaning up the debris from his yard and planning a more permanent solution to what is becoming an all too common occurrence.

READ MORE: Section of New Brunswick Trans-Canada Highway could reopen soon following damage assessment

“I’m looking at 10 grand, just to protect what I got,” he said.

But for others who saw water actually reach their homes, preventative measures will be far from mind as they begin to take stock of the damage caused by the river.

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In order to try to provide some comfort during what can be an emotionally devastating time, the Canadian Red Cross is distributing cleanup kits in Saint John and Maugerville.

“It’s very difficult for people to come back and try and get their head around ‘what do I need to do,'” said Bill Lawler, provincial director for the Red Cross in New Brunswick and P.E.I.

“Certainly we are offering these free light cleanup kits, but for some folks they’re going to need to engage industrial cleaning company to come in and really do some heavy repair.”

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The City of Saint John is also distributing drinking water, well-testing kits, and additional cleaning kits, but more importantly, is working to connect volunteers with those that need a hand.

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“This community is tremendously resilient and a wonderful spirit so we want to put those people that wanna help with the people that need help,” said Kevin Clifford, the director of Saint John EMO.

“Our view is volunteers are best used at the recovery phase in helping our community get back in their homes, and getting rid of the stuff that’s in their homes, so we’re going to mobilize that spirit.”

Clifford says waters are projected to gradually recede throughout the week, finally falling below flood stage on the weekend, but is reminding those with flood-damaged properties to get the cleanup done as quickly as possible.

“We understand that the window for cleaning those homes appropriately is 24 to 48 hours and we want to help,” he said.

READ MORE: New Brunswick officials warning residents to avoid contact with floodwater that could contain sewage

Anyone looking to volunteer can contact the city at (506) 658-2844 or floodvolunteers@saintjohn.ca. Those looking for the aforementioned cleaning or testing kits can pick them up from three community support centres at the following locations:

  • KBM Community Centre, 2452 Westfield Rd. (west)
  • Peter Murray Arena, 711 Dever Rd. (west)
  • Fire Station #8, 608 Millidge Ave. (north)