NEWS

N.B. pledges aid for people affected by flood

03/25/2012 02:55 EDT | Updated 05/25/2012 05:12 EDT

New Brunswick Premier David Alward announced a recovery program Sunday for victims of the weekend ice jam flooding along the St. John River during a visit to hard hit Perth-Andover.

The program will allow residents to receive information and register for government services with a single phone call beginning Monday.

It will also put health and safety inspection teams into flood-affected areas to allow residents to return to their homes more quickly.

Water levels were starting to subside along the banks of the St. John River in the village. By Sunday morning, the water level had dropped by more than one metre, and patches of open water are now visible on the river, which had been completely blocked by ice jams on Saturday.

Alward said that staff from the Department of Public Safety will be on site at the emergency operations centre in Perth-Andover to assist residents with the recovery process.

Perth-Andover, Tobique First Nation properties damaged

Health and safety inspection teams are beginning to do damage assessments of properties in Perth-Andover and at the Tobique First Nation.

Registering is the first step in the recovery process, which includes three elements:

• Complementary assistance, including water testing, electrical re-connections and electrical permits, if necessary;

• Health and safety inspections, to assess damage and determine what repairs are required for residents to safely return to their homes.

• Disaster financial assistance, which will be available to assist with repair costs.

"We have seen first-hand the devastating effects of the recent ice-jam flooding in the Perth-Andover region and the Tobique First Nation," Alward said.

"We sympathize with all residents who are dealing with the effects of this flood, and I want to assure them that we are putting all our resources into beginning the recovery process to get them back in their homes as soon as possible."

The provincial recovery call centre is being run through Service New Brunswick and will begin operating Monday.

Residents can call 1-888-298-8555 to report damage and register for disaster financial assistance. Once registered, residents will be provided with an information package and any required paperwork to initiate an assistance claim.

Once approved for disaster financial assistance, advance payments of up to $4,000 will be available. The deductible amounts will be $1,000 for individual homeowners, and $5,000 for small businesses.

The deductible is automatically waived for social services clients. Requests for waiver may also be considered from those who are experiencing severe financial hardship.

The Service New Brunswick call centre will operate Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Residents can also apply online.

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