BAS-CARAQUET (GNB) – Premier Gallant is recognizing the hundreds of volunteers who continue to do door-to-door checks and operate warming centres and shelters as recovery efforts continue in the Acadian Peninsula with pockets in Kent County and the Miramichi as well.

Gallant joined officials from New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) and NB Power for a visit to the regional reception centre in Bas Caraquet today. The volunteers at this centre have been providing up to 700 meals a day for people in need.

“The safety of New Brunswickers is still our focus at this time,” said Gallant. "Thank you to the hundreds of people who are volunteering at the warming centres to keep their community safe, who are going door-to-door to help their neighbours get through the storm, and who are donating resources to help people get their lives back to normal. Your generosity and sense of community is heartwarming.”

It is estimated that about 500 people are helping to keep New Brunswickers safe, in many cases, warming, feeding and informing them. These groups include volunteers, government workers, first responders, and ground search and rescue teams. The majority of these individuals have been working long hours.

NB Power crews continue to make progress restoring power to customers and are meeting restoration targets set earlier this week in the Acadian Peninsula, Miramichi and Kent County.

The power restoration target for Thursday evening in the Acadian Peninsula is up to 85 per cent of customers with 99 per cent of customers targeted to be restored in Miramichi and Kent County. Outside of the Acadian Peninsula, NB Power is expecting to restore all but small pockets of customers. These small groups include those with complex challenges such as damage to their masts, or isolated or seasonal properties.

"We encourage those without power to go to any one of the warming centres or shelters. These are places to warm up, eat, and get information on the programs that are there to help you,” said Gallant. "In addition, hundreds of people are still doing door-to-door to ensure everyone is okay and that they are aware of the support that is out there for them.”

Door-to-door activities continue in the affected regions. Warming centres and shelters remain open to provide food, shelter as well as information for social development clients, from the Red Cross and applications for disaster financial assistance. The military continues to perform various tasks in the affected region and will remain in this role until they are satisfied that the scope of the challenge has been reduced to the point that local officials and volunteers can manage the situation.

Gallant is encouraging any New Brunswicker who has experienced damage to their home to inquire about Disaster Financial Assistance to see what type of support is available to them. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and the deductible will be waived for people who demonstrate financial challenges. Residents should register immediately so that health and safety inspections can take place. Applications are available online and have been distributed to warming centres/shelters. Residents can also call 1-888-298-8555 for more information or to apply.

“For those with power who are trying to get their lives back to normal, you are invited to go to your local food bank to stock up your homes. You can also continue to go to a warming centre to eat. Please contact the disaster financial assistance program as well to see if you can have some of your expenses related to the storm covered," said Gallant.

Carbon monoxide poisoning continues to be a concern in the affected regions with the number of suspected illness due to carbon monoxide currently at 42. New Brunswickers are reminded 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 be extremely dangerous.

The Department of Social Development is continuing to reach out to impacted clients. Clients that have not been in touch with their caseworkers are encouraged to contact EMO or Social Development regional offices or to visit one of the warming centres.

"We are calling and canvassing door-to-door to reach any vulnerable citizens affected by the storm to let them know there is help available for them to recover from this crisis. We encourage them to go to a warming centre or to contact the disaster financial assistance program to get the information on the support in place for them," said Gallant.

NB Power

NB Power crews continue to make progress restoring power to customers affected by last week's ice storm, meeting restoration targets set earlier this week in the Acadian Peninsula, Miramichi and Kent County.

Working conditions remain challenging for crews with cold weather and thick ice on equipment. For those still without power, NB Power encourages customers to visit warming centres for food, comfort and additional information on government services.

At 8:30 a.m. today, fewer than 5,000 customers were still without power as a result of the storm, down from a peak of about 133,000 last week.

The majority of customers still without power are in the Acadian Peninsula, where the ice storm hit later and harder than in other parts of the province.

Progress will depend upon weather and working conditions and the specific challenges that may be experienced by crews. Estimated restoration times are being updated on NB Power’s website several times a day and customers are encouraged to check online for progress related to their particular outage.

There are currently 365 crews on the ground in affected areas.

Disaster Financial Assistance

People who have been impacted by this event are encouraged to inquire about Disaster Financial Assistance. Residents who have suffered damages should register immediately so that health and safety inspections can take place.

Applications are available online and have been distributed to warming centres/shelters. Residents can also call 1-888-298-8555 for more information or to apply.

Municipalities are also covered under this program for response and recovery costs. Municipal governments are tracking their costs now, and a package will be sent out to each municipality explaining the guidelines.

Shelters and warming centres

There remain more than 34 shelters and warming centres open in affected regions. These centres will remain open as long as there is a need. Residents are strongly encouraged to visit these centres. These centres are open to everyone, including to people from other communities.

Anyone with questions about these centres may call the Red Cross at 1-800-222-9597, or EMO at 1-800-561-4034.

EMO

The provincial emergency operations centre remains activated and government officials continue to co-ordinate the response.

Door-to-door efforts in the affected regions will continue with about 450 volunteers, members of the military and members of the legislature offering information and support.

The focus remains on any needs that may arise over the coming days, but anyone who has been missed may contact EMO at 1-800-561-4034 or the Red Cross at 1-800-418-1111.

How to help

The Red Cross has launched a donation appeal to help the people who are most vulnerable and in need. Donations may 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 its 44 corporate stores.

Important public reminders

Never run generators or cook with an open flame inside a home or a garage as these activities create carbon monoxide (CO) which can be extremely dangerous. It is also important that generators are kept away from a residence so gases cannot enter a home.  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.

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.

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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