It could be several days before power is fully restored across Cumberland County.
Mike Johnson, the county’s EMO co-ordinator, said that as of noon Tuesday there are still 9,000 or so people without power in various areas of the county. He said it could be Friday at the earliest before some are reconnected.
“There are still a lot of areas having significant challenges and it’s going to be some time before Nova Scotia reconnects these people,” Johnson said. “There are some real challenges out there.
“There are issues with some wastewater facilities and pumps not working in River Hebert-Joggins and Pugwash. We understand and appreciate the problems people are facing and we’re working as fast as we can to get things up and running again.”
There is also an ongoing telecommunications issue in the River Hebert-Joggins and Gulf Shore areas. While there is cellphone coverage in those areas, telephone services are not working and EMO is urging people there to go to the nearest fire department if they have an emergency and need fire, police or ambulance.
We’re asking people to continue being patient. There have been a lot of hardships out there, but everyone is working to the best of their ability to get things done.
Johnson is not sure when it will be operational again but added there have been off and on issues with telecommunications since hurricane Dorian hit the area on Saturday – knocking more than 20,000 Cumberland County residents off the power grid.
“When the storm hit and the immediate aftermath we were over our heads, and while it’s still difficult, we are starting to get to the point where our fingers are coming to or just sticking out of the water,” Johnson said. “If we get the power problems solved, a lot of the other issues will go away. The amount of trees sitting on poles or lines that have broken is still high. There are also situations were power lines have been pulled from homes. It’s very labour intensive and it’s going to take some time. We’re asking people to continue being patient. There have been a lot of hardships out there, but everyone is working to the best of their ability to get things done.”
Johnson said there are still several comfort centres available in Advocate Harbour, Diligent River, the community centre in Springhill, the Wallace community hall, Southampton community hall and fire departments in Pugwash, River Hebert and Joggins.
Andrew Frenette, who lives in Brookdale, said his home lost its power at approximately 2 p.m. on Saturday.
“We’re doing OK. We threw out about $50 worth of food yesterday and the rest we took to relatives in town, and we’ve been showering at relatives and doing laundry in town,” Frenette said. “Right now I'm barbecuing hamburgers and playing chess with my son.”
While living without power is inconvenient, he said, it could be much worse. He has seen photos on Facebook of other areas around the county as well as the devastation that Dorian brought to the Bahamas.
“As bad as it is, it could be a lot worse,” he said. “We still have our home and there isn’t any damage. We’re being patient because we know how bad it is. It’s OK if we miss a few shows on our PVR.”
He said there was a shortage of gasoline in various locations, with some gas stations running out of gas while the gas supply was also getting low in Amherst. Thankfully, Johnson added, the oil companies brought gas into these areas.
Amherst had most of its power reconnected on Sunday, while places like Oxford and Springhill were reconnected on Monday – although there continue to be sporadic outages in areas where power masts were ripped off people’s homes.
“A lot of people out there who have their power back may think everything is good, but there are still people out there without. Take a look around and see if there are people who don’t have power. There are human dignity issues that happen in times like this. Don’t be afraid to reach out to offer to help,” Johnson said. “Know there’s as much work before us as there is behind us.”
Johnson said a large area around Amherst – including Nappan and Fenwick, as well as River Hebert-Joggins, the Pugwash area and Malagash as well as various areas along the Northumberland Strait and between Parrsboro and Advocate Harbour remain out.
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have arrived in the county to assist Nova Scotia Power removing trees off downed power lines.
He said the boil water advisory is still in effect in Oxford and Amherst residents were being urged to conserve water because of power outages – although that advisory was lifted on Monday.