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More troops on standby in Atlantic Canada for Fiona cleanup: Ottawa

Click to play video: 'Storm Fiona: Anand defends speed of deployment of military members'
Storm Fiona: Anand defends speed of deployment of military members
WATCH: Anand defends speed of deployment of military members – Sep 29, 2022

Defence Minister Anita Anand says there are now 700 military members in Atlantic Canada helping with the cleanup after post-tropical storm Fiona left much of the region in tatters.

Anand said Thursday that Canadian Armed Forces members in Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and southwestern Newfoundland are helping to clear debris, reopen roads, check on residents and assess damage.

The minister said additional troops are on standby, along with some ships and aircraft.

Read more: Military recruitment challenges persist as domestic demand increases: minister

Federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray says 180 of the region’s 706 small-craft harbours were in the path of the storm, adding that work is underway to determine the extent of the damage.

Murray says the department knows of at least 99 harbours that are partially operational and five that are so damaged they are no longer functional.

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As well, work is underway in many harbours to remove dozens of sunken or grounded vessels.

“This is going to be a very costly venture,” Newfoundland MP Gudie Hutchings told a ministers briefing Thursday. “And we need to build back safer, stronger and better for our fishermen, for our farmers, for our communities and, most importantly, for our residents.”

Click to play video: 'Fiona’s damage highlights consequences of climate change'
Fiona’s damage highlights consequences of climate change

Hutchings represents the area that includes Port aux Basques, N.L., where Fiona destroyed more than 70 homes, some of which were dragged out to sea by a record-breaking storm surge on Saturday morning. The storm claimed the life of a 73-year-old woman, who was swept out to sea when a wave flooded her home and tore apart her basement.

In Nova Scotia, the provincial government has launched a new website where residents can apply for financial assistance.

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Under a new program, any household that lost power for at least 48 hours can apply to receive $100 to help cover the cost of spoiled food. As well, up to $250 is available for those who have to pay for tree removal, and $1,000 per household is being offered to people who were either ordered out of their homes or cannot return to their residence.

Click to play video: 'Storm Fiona: Trudeau visits displaced residents of Port aux Basques in Newfoundland and Labrador'
Storm Fiona: Trudeau visits displaced residents of Port aux Basques in Newfoundland and Labrador

As of Monday, Nova Scotia started accepting applications under a disaster financial assistance program, which covers up to $200,000 in uninsurable losses per household, small business and not-for-profit organization.

New Brunswick has also unveiled a similar disaster financial assistance program. “We expect hurricane Fiona’s damage total will exceed the $35 million paid out for hurricane Dorian in 2019,” Public Safety Minister Bill Hogan said in a statement released late Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, the New Brunswick government had received 164 damage reports, most of them from an area extending from the Nova Scotia border, along the Northumberland Strait to the Acadian Peninsula. Up to $200,000 is available to households applying to cover the cost of structural repairs not covered by insurance.

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“If affordable (insurance) coverage was available and not purchased, a disaster financial assistance claim cannot be approved,” the New Brunswick government said in a statement.

Residents can also file claims to cover the costs of basic-needs items, such as appliances that could not be removed from flood danger, labour to remove damaged material from basements, general repairs and removing trees that pose a threat to safety.

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