Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Armed Forces Deployed to Hardest Hit Areas in the Wake of N.B. Storm: Premier

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Armed Forces Deployed to Hardest Hit Areas in the Wake of N.B. Storm: Premier

Article excerpt

Military assists response to N.B. storm: premier

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SHIPPAGAN, N.B. - The military is sending 200 troops to New Brunswick to back up ongoing relief efforts in the areas that have been hardest hit by last week's ice storm.

New Brunswick's premier told a news conference in Shippagan Sunday that the military will help thousands of residents in the province's northeast who have been without power for days following the ice storm that walloped the province last Wednesday.

"We should see quite a presence (Monday) in the region," Brian Gallant said. "Everybody is in a mode in which we understand that every minute counts, every hour counts and every day counts, and we're all focused on one thing."

A military official said in an interview Sunday that troops from the army's base in Gagetown were set to deploy overnight in two waves. The team includes engineers and a headquarters group, said Lt.-Cmdr. Jordan Holder, and go door-to-door to check in on residents, clear roadways and distribute basic necessities.

The military sent a recon team Saturday to see how to best direct their efforts in response to the premier's request for federal help.

Gallant said discussions of cost have been put aside until after the crisis because "you can't put a price on people's safety."

New Brunswick Power reported that more than 25,000 customers were affected by the outages Sunday, the bulk of them on the Acadian peninsula, where the impact of Wednesday's storm has been most severe.

Gallant welcomed the military back-up, acknowledging there are several days of work ahead to get the entire province back on the electrical grid.

Around 350 crews worked under strenuous conditions Sunday that have stalled restoration efforts, Gallant said, such as thick layers of ice building up over gear and infrastructure.

In some areas, workers face fallen debris, high winds and extreme ice loading that has weighed down power lines, causing new outages on the Acadian Peninsula. The extent of the damage to electrical equipment at some sites has been more severe than expected, he said.

Gallant said 31 people were being treated Sunday for what is believed to be carbon monoxide poisoning. …

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