Trudeau surveys aftermath of Fiona in Port aux Basques

Provincial government announces details of $30M relief package

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Port aux Basques on Wednesday, meeting with residents and surveying the destruction caused by post-tropical storm Fiona.

Accompanied by Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey, provincial Liberal MPs Gudie Hutchings and Seamus O'Regan and area MHA Andrew Parsons, Trudeau met with residents affected by the storm, first responders helping with cleanup efforts and municipal leaders.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Trudeau said the federal government will not create a separate funding program to help residents but instead will support the provincial government as it implements a $30-million relief package.

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Trudeau said the federal government will work with the provincial government and municipalities to ensure displaced people will be settled by winter.

"We know with cold weather coming, with winter approaching, they're going to need long-term solutions," he said.

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Trudeau said the federal government will announce extensions to tax-filing deadlines for small businesses on Thursday, and said the federal government will also support affected residents in the agriculture and fisheries industries.

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"Fisheries and Oceans will be there for them as they try to measure the impact of the damages and work toward replacing lost gear and lost livelihoods," he said.

So far, Trudeau said, the Canadian Red Cross has received $20 million in donations, which the federal government will match.

Furey said earlier Wednesday he has been reassured the federal government is ready to help in relief and rebuilding efforts wherever possible, including dispatching the Canadian Armed Forces to help with the cleanup. Trudeau said the federal government positioned military support before the storm, and about 150 personnel are currently on the ground.

Heavy rain, wind gusts and record high storm surges totalled parts of Port aux Basques, as well as other small outports that dot Newfoundland's southwest coasts.

Furey announces details of $30M relief package

Earlier on Wednesday, the Newfoundland and Labrador's government announced $30 million in relief funds to help residents of the island's southwest coast who lost everything to post-tropical storm Fiona.

Premier Andrew Furey announced the funding in Port aux Basques on Wednesday, saying there's "an acute need" to help people in the short term while they deal with insurance claims over the long term.

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Residents must be registered with the Canadian Red Cross to receive the funding, the premier said.

The funding breaks down as follows:

  • $1,000 per household for people who have been temporarily evacuated from their primary residence during the storm and are able to return by Friday.

  • $10,000 per household for people who have been displaced and are unable to return.

  • $500,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to support claims for immediate assistance and for temporary accommodation assistance.

  • $500,000 to be distributed among affected communities based on their individual needs to cover things like employee overtime, barricades and unanticipated expenses.

  • $25 million for affected communities to begin rebuilding.

  • Furey said the money for residents is a one-time payment that doesn't have to be returned if insurance money is received, and is available to residents regardless of their level of insurance.

"They will all be covered in this plan. Even if you have insurance, some of this will help you in the immediate term.… These people need clothing and supports today," Furey said.

"So if you're displaced from your home, regardless of if insurance covers it or not, we will give you $10,000 immediately to help with the essentials that you're going to require in the next few days."

Furey said the money could be in the pockets of residents as early as Monday but it could take longer in places where more people were affected. He said the latest damage assessment shows around 95 homes were destroyed.

"We'll try to recover as much as possible through the federal funding program, of course, but we're getting the ball rolling right away to the families immediately," he said.

"It's emotional, it's heartbreaking and we hope that today's announcement causes some alleviation of their stress and strain during this terrible, terrible time."

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*This article was originally published for CBC News. Thumbnail credit: Royal Canadian Navy/@RoyalCanNavy. *