Program to help with uninsurable losses from Hurricane Dorian

Pictured is the satellite image of Hurricane Dorian.

HALIFAX: Those who had uninsurable losses as a result of Hurricane Dorian can now apply for the disaster financial assistance program.

The program is designed to help individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations with uninsurable claims, and municipalities with uninsured losses.

“Based on information we received from municipalities and provincial departments, the damage is estimated to be about $11 million,” said Chuck Porter, Minister responsible for emergency management. “This program helps people and communities get back on their feet after a disaster. It covers the costs of basic household items like appliances and furniture, as well as basic repairs of structural damage to a home or business that are not insurable.”

Spokesperson Susan Mader Zinck told The Reporter all municipalities and provincial departments were contacted.

“They are best positioned to know the extent of the damage in their areas and could give us a reasonable estimate of losses,” she explained.

Mader Zinck noted the $11 million estimate includes an estimate of losses by individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations based on similar events, while individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations will be contacted by a provincial representative once their application is submitted.

“People with questions or needing assistance with their application can call 211,” she stated.

The disaster financial assistance program covers up to $200,000 per household, small business, and not-for-profit. There is no deductible. Food is not covered by this program because food lost in power outages could have been covered by insurance.

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in Nova Scotia on September 7. It was the largest and most powerful storm to impact the province in recorded history.

Hurricane Dorian tore through the Strait area knocking out power, damaging roads and property, and disrupting travel. After staying at Category 1 strength for over 24 hours before it hit, Hurricane Dorian clocked winds at 100 miles per hour in some areas, along with tidal surges and driving rain.

Almost every home in the region was without power. Nova Scotia Power (NSP) estimated there were approximately 400,000 customers in the province who had their service disrupted during the height of the storm.

By September 8, power was restored to Port Hawkesbury and parts of Antigonish and Richmond and Inverness counties, but the lights were still out for many Strait area residents. There were still residents without power and phone service throughout Inverness, Richmond, Guysborough, and Antigonish counties a week or more after the storm made landfall.

Crews continued to deal with broken poles and fallen trees, which took down power lines, NSP said, noting that many of the repairs were complex. Damage included an estimated 7,000 instances of lines broken by trees or with trees leaning on them, and 375 broken or leaning poles, the power company explained.

While NSP said a majority of customers who lost power as a result of Dorian had service restored days later, there were still complex outages that took more time and effort to restore.

Nova Scotia Power had 368 power line crews, 81 forestry crews and 67 damage assessment teams dedicated to the restoration effort. This included crews from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Quebec, Maine, and Florida. Additional resources arrived each day. In addition to help from the military, Nova Scotia Power worked with the Nova Scotia EMO to prioritize restoration to critical infrastructure.

Surgical procedures scheduled at Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital were postponed because of power issues.

When the storm hit, Nova Scotia RCMP issued an advisory asking motorists to stay off the roads, unless necessary, due to the gale force winds and heavy rain. By Saturday night, Emergency Health Services pulled ambulances off the road because of the deteriorating conditions.

After their broadcast tower was blown over Saturday, 101.5 The Hawk was able to continue broadcasting on-line until their radio signal was restored the next day.

During the storm, roads in: D’Escousse; Newtown; Port Hood; Highway 7 near Glen Road; Route 19 between Mabou and Inverness; between Strathlorne and Inverness; Mull River Road; between Port Hastings and Port Hawkesbury; Highway 104 in Lower River Inhabitants; Highway 105 in Glendale; Route 252 near Brook Village Grocery; and Route 395 were all closed or had traffic flow disrupted due to downed trees, lines or poles.

Also, users of municipal water systems in Whycocomagh and Mabou were still without water, while advisories have been sent to users of other municipal systems in Inverness County to conserve their water.

Canadian Forces regular and reserve units were deployed from bases, including Port Hawkesbury, to communities around the Strait area.

Details on the program and how to apply are available at: https://beta.novascotia.ca/government/emergency-management-office. The deadline to apply for assistance is March 31.