NEGUAC (GNB) – Premier Brian Gallant joined officials with NB Power and the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) in Neguac today to announce that the provincial government will initiate a Disaster Financial Assistance program.

“We need to keep New Brunswickers safe. Getting them their power or ensuring they are at one of the many warming centres is a priority,” said Gallant. “Ensuring New Brunswickers have food security during these tough times is important as well. That is why our government is giving $100,000 to the New Brunswick Association of Food Banks so they can provide families in the impacted areas the food they need,” said Gallant. “We know that many have suffered financial hardship due to this natural disaster. This is why we are launching a disaster financial relief effort. People are encouraged to contact us to see what type of financial support they can receive.”

Residents can report damages related to the ice storm by calling 1-888-298-8555 to begin the application process. Application forms will also be available at warming centres/shelters as well as online.

Residents are encouraged to speak with their insurance companies before applying for disaster financial assistance.

The program covers eligible damages and losses that threaten the health and safety of individuals and communities, but does not cover any damages or losses for items for which insurance is available for purchase. An example of something that could be covered by the program are repairs to electrical panels. Note that food loss is considered an insurable loss. Residents should turn to their insurance providers to cover this cost.

NB Power

Power crews continued to make progress on Monday in restoring power in Miramichi, Moncton, Kent County and on the Acadian peninsula. While progress continues there is still a lot of work to do in the Acadian Peninsula, where the storm arrived later and with the most strength.

Substantial progress has been made in the Kent and Miramichi regions, however there are still some complex cases that will take more time to fix.

At the peak of the storm, more than 130,000 people were without power. NB Power has restored power to 90 per cent of impacted customers. As of 7:30 a.m. today, about 14,000 people remain without power, the majority of those in the hardest-hit area of the Acadian Peninsula.

There are 380 crews on the ground with the vast majority of efforts focused in the Acadian Peninsula. As crews finish one area, they move to the next outage and continue working to restore power.

NB Power is working toward achieving a restoration target of up to 75 per cent of customers in the Acadian Peninsula by Wednesday evening. This progress will depend upon weather, working conditions and specific challenges that may be experienced by crews.

One challenge NB Power crews are encountering is damage to power masts where power connects to a home. Residents who think their mast is damaged should contact a certified electrician as soon as possible. Power cannot be restored until the mast is repaired. The provincial government has ensured that there is no backlog for permits to do this work and efforts are currently underway to post a list of certified electricians online and in warming centres.

Crews continue to clear roads and driveways made impassable by downed poles, wires and other debris. NB Power road-clearing teams have ensured safe passage for fire and emergency vehicles on 22 formerly-blocked roads throughout the peninsula. Crews are also increasing safe access for residents and regular traffic in areas affected by the storm.

The challenging working conditions, especially the extreme amount of ice covering gear and infrastructure, continues to be a harsh reality for crews.

Cold load pick up remains a serious issue causing additional outages across the province. NB Power asks anyone currently in an outage to turn down their electric heating and unplug their appliances and to only plug them in gradually after power is restored.

Residents are also reminded to be safe around lines and trees and to leave the cleanup to NB Power crews. It is also important to drive slowly for both the safety of motorists and of crews working to restore power on lines near the road.

Door-to-door

It is clear from NB Power that it may take some time for some areas of the province to have electricity restored. The provincial government will continue to focus on needs that may continue over the coming days.‎

Hundreds of volunteers are going door-to-door to check on the welfare of residents. EMO is co-ordinating about 450 personnel who are conducting these checks. In addition, the organization has organized five warming teams, comprised of local firefighters, who started to visit homes Sunday night. These teams are using equipment to warm-up affected homes.

Armed Forces

The Armed Forces continues to provide support with debris cleanup and door-to-door activity. An additional 30 personnel are expected to join about 200 already on the ground today. Because the greatest need remains in the Acadian Peninsula, troop coverage will remain in Tracadie, Caraquet, Shippagan and Lamèque today.

Food Banks

The Regional Development Commission will provide $100,000 to help local food banks, which suffered damage and losses due to the storm, purchase supplies. Vulnerable residents are encouraged to visit food banks if they need to replace lost food.

Shelters and warming centres

Shelters and warming centres remain will remain as long as there is need in various communities. Residents are strongly encouraged to visit these centres to get relief from the cold. Anyone with questions about these centres may call the Red Cross at 1-800-222-9597, or EMO at 1-800-561-4034.

Carbon monoxide

The number of people that are being treated or have been treated in hospital for illnesses related to carbon monoxide is now 34. The provincial government has confirmed two people died due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

EMO reminds New Brunswickers to never run generators or cook with an open flame inside a home or a garage as these activities create carbon monoxide (CO) which can become extremely dangerous. It is also important that generators are kept away from a residence so gases cannot enter a home. Never leave candles or lanterns unattended. Take a moment to test the batteries in carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.

If a carbon monoxide alarm sounds or if you suspect it in your home, immediately go outside into fresh air. If you have headaches and have the symptoms of the flu, leave your home immediately.

How to help

The Red Cross has launched a donation appeal to help the people who are most vulnerable and in need. Donations can be made online, or by calling the Red Cross at 1-800-418-1111. Residents can also support the disaster fund by making a donation through NB Liquor’s at-cash campaign at any of the 44-corporate stores.

Important public reminders

Never run generators or cook with an open flame inside a home or the garage, as these activities create carbon monoxide which can become extremely dangerous. Never leave candles or lanterns unattended. Take a moment to test the batteries in carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.

Residents should not approach downed power lines, or trees that are in contact with power lines.

Residents are encouraged to check on their neighbours, particularly the elderly, to see if they require assistance.

Food safety: when in doubt, throw it out: Residents who have been without power for a period of time are reminded to carefully inspect all food items and to avoid eating any food that they believe may not be safe. More information is available online.

Anyone who is having difficulty with being cold should visit one of the warming centres or emergency shelters. If you do not know how to get to these centres, call EMO at 1-800-561-4034.

New Brunswickers with any medical concerns who are affected by power outages are encouraged to call Tele-Care 811. If you are in an emergency situation, call 911.

If your power is out, turn down heat sources and unplug major appliances in advance of power restoration to avoid a surge in demand that has the potential to cause more outages.

Anyone travelling should exercise extreme caution while driving, especially in rural areas where they may encounter downed trees and power lines.

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