Red Cross gives more than $9 million — and counting — to N.S. households after Fiona

Red Cross gives more than $9 million — and counting — to N.S. households after Fiona

The Canadian Red Cross is spending more to help Nova Scotians recover from post-tropical storm Fiona than after any other disaster in the province's history.

Since Fiona hit on Sept. 24, the region's Canadian Red Cross distributed $500 payments to 18,604 households in Nova Scotia totalling $9.3 million according to Dan Bedell, the communications director for the Atlantic region.

The one-time $500 payments help families unable to meet basic needs after the hurricane's damage.

"We've not had a previous event like that with that many households impacted," said Bedell. "It's just the impacts of Fiona were so widespread."

In total, 47,320 households across Atlantic Canada received the $500 payment, totalling over $23 million. P.E.I. received the largest amount of aid with 24,729 households receiving the $500 payment, totalling more than $12.3 million.

Mark Crosby/CBC
Mark Crosby/CBC

"Households will undoubtedly receive additional help from the Canadian Red Cross because they will have needs over a longer term," said Bedell.

"For some people, they can get back up on their feet and be reestablished pretty quickly. For others, it's going to take, you know, weeks, months, potentially years."

Malone Mullin/CBC
Malone Mullin/CBC

Over 100 people still displaced in Nova Scotia

Right now, Red Cross is covering the hotel costs for 13 people in Halifax, 91 in Cape Breton and two in Pictou County.

Three weeks ago, the province announced  $1.39 million in funding to cover hotel costs for people displaced by the storm. Bedell said the additional provincial funding will help the Red Cross cover hotel costs until March.

Since Fiona hit, households that could not return to their homes due to damage were given one-time payments of $1,000 by the Canadian Red Cross to cover their accommodation elsewhere. So far, the Canadian Red Cross handed out 240 payments totalling $240,000.

The Red Cross administers the funds. The Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office decides which households receive the funding.

Recovery phase

The federal government pledged to match every dollar donated to the Canadian Red Cross Hurricane Fiona in Canada Appeal until Oct. 23. The fundraising appeal has raised $31 million, so far. Bedell said once those funds are received, they will be used for a recovery phase.

He said areas in Cape Breton, N.S., and Channel-Port aux Basques, N.L., need major repairs or complete reconstruction.

"In some cases it's just damage to their home and in others the home is destroyed and has to be rebuilt," he said. "In some cases, not just rebuilding, but rebuilding in a different place because they've been told they can't rebuild [in the original location]."

He said the Canadian Red Cross has 54 workers on the ground helping people with temporary lodging in Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island.

"It is a major response and it has involved us having to bring people in literally from one end of the country to the other to help out in person," said Bedell.