The mayor of West Hants says his community is coming together after two people were found dead in the aftermath of the devastating floods that swept through the region last week.
Police discovered the body of a 52-year-old man from Windsor, N.S., Monday morning, who was one of four people reported missing in two separate incidents after vehicles became submerged in floodwaters in the West Hants area Saturday following heavy rainfall.
A youth who was travelling with the man and two children from a separate vehicle remain missing. Human remains were also discovered on the shore of a tidal area in neighbouring Kings County, which have yet to be identified.
On Tuesday, Abraham Zebian, mayor of West Hants Regional Municipality, told Global News Morning the discovery of the remains might help bring some closure to the victims’ families, but the tight-knit community is still devastated in the wake of the disaster.
“We’re very tight, we’re very close. When a person is hurt or in need of help, the whole community comes together and the people who step up the most are strangers,” he said.
“So regardless of who it is, this is felt by every single one of our West Hantsers.”
Zebian said supportive counselling is being offered at the West Hants Sports Complex for those who are struggling.
In Halifax, Mayor Mike Savage said cleanup efforts are ongoing, though there are “still areas of the city that are underwater.”
He urged people to avoid swimming or playing in the floodwaters.
“Those waters are not safe to play in. There’s a lot of contaminants in the water,” he said.
“It could have oil, diesel, propane…. These are not pools, and they need to be treated with real caution.”
Halifax has launched a flooding registry form for people who are unable to leave their properties due to road and culvert damage.
Historic rain event
Heavy rain, which began Friday, dumped between 200 and 250 millimetres along Nova Scotia’s South Shore, across the Halifax area and into central and western parts of the province, prompting massive floods in some areas.
Provincial officials said 25 bridges had been affected, with 19 damaged and six destroyed. At least 50 roads or more sustained significant damage.
Premier Tim Houston offered his condolences to the families of the victims found Monday and said it was a “heartbreaking day for our province.”
“It’s difficult to comprehend the magnitude of the tragedy and the loss that we’re feeling today,” he said.
“We can rebuild roads and bridges and buildings, but we can’t bring people back, and the legacy for these floods will be the incredibly tragic loss of life.”
A provincewide state of emergency declared on Saturday will remain in effect until Aug. 5, and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair approved a request from the province for continued federal assistance on Sunday.
The floods also cut off the sole rail link between Halifax and the rest of Canada, and caused Canada Post to suspend its services in Nova Scotia on Monday. On Tuesday, Canada Post said operations have resumed in areas where “it is safe to do so.”
Experts say climate change is leading to more supercharged weather events in Nova Scotia and across the country. The devastating floods happened just two months after nearly 250 square kilometres of land was scorched by record wildfires.
Source : Global News