Letters to the Editor

Monday, 26 March 2012

Province announces flood relief beginning March 26

FREDERICTON (GNB) - The provincial government has announced a recovery program for victims of the recent flooding caused by ice jams.

The program will allow residents to receive information and register for government services with a single phone call beginning on Monday, March 26.  It will also bring health and safety inspection teams into flood-affected areas to help residents to return to their homes more quickly.

In addition, staff from the Department of Public Safety will be on site at the emergency operations centre in Perth-Andover to assist residents with the recovery process. Health and safety inspection teams are beginning to do damage assessments of properties in Perth-Andover and at the Tobique First Nation.

Registering is the first step in the recovery process, which includes three elements:

●    complementary assistance, including water testing, electrical re-connections and electrical permits, if necessary;
●    health and safety inspections, to assess damage and determine what repairs are required for residents to safely return to their homes; and
●    Disaster Financial Assistance, which will be available to assist with repair costs.

"We have seen first-hand the devastating effects of the recent ice-jam flooding in the Perth-Andover region and the Tobique First Nation," Premier David Alward said. "We sympathize with all residents who are dealing with the effects of this flood, and I assure them that we are putting our resources into beginning the recovery process to get them back into their homes as soon as possible."

The provincial recovery call centre will be run through Service New Brunswick and will be in operation as of tomorrow, Monday, March 26.

Health and safety inspection teams have already begun work in the flood-affected areas. These teams will assess whether a home or place of business is safe for residents or owners to re-enter. Each team will be comprised of members specialized in electrical, structural, environmental, health and fire issues.

Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Robert Trevors commended the response effort.

"While this was a difficult event for those affected, we are grateful that there were no fatalities or serious injuries, and that people were evacuated safely," he said. "I commend all local authorities, first responders, Red Cross, volunteer organizations and the entire government team for working quickly to get people safely out of dangerous zones."

Beginning on Monday, residents in flood-affected areas should call Service New Brunswick at 1-888-298-8555 to report damage and register for disaster financial assistance. Once registered, residents will be provided with an information package and any required paperwork to initiate an assistance claim.

Once approved for disaster financial assistance, advance payments of up to $4,000 will be available. The deductible amounts will be $1,000 for individual homeowners, and $5,000 for small businesses. The deductible is automatically waived for social services clients. Requests for waiver may also be considered from those who are experiencing severe financial hardship.

The Service New Brunswick call centre will operate Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Residents may also apply online.