Strong floods have washed away roads, damaged homes and left many Nova Scotians stranded as historic rains continue to wreak havoc on the state.
Amid the devastation, Prime Minister Tim Houston has vowed to rebuild the state, which has been left submerged after experiencing a violent start to the wildfire season just recently.
“We will rebuild. There is no question that Nova Scotians are resilient and strong. We have been tested a lot, but we will rebuild,” Houston said in an interview with CTV News Channel on Sunday.
Since Friday evening, the state has been experiencing unrelenting torrential rains. 200mm in less than 12 hours. Up to 40,000 residents lost power as overnight rains affected roads and power lines.
RCMP reported by Saturday afternoon. Four residents went missing in the flood In another incident, a car carrying two children, a youth and an adult man was submerged.
“The (rain) effects on bridges, roads and homes are devastating in many ways, but right now we are all praying for the safe return of those four souls,” he said.
Canada’s east coast has been devastated in recent years by frequent extreme weather events like Hurricane Fiona at the end of 2021, followed by wildfires this summer, all of which put a lot of pressure on first responders, Houston said.
“It’s been pretty non-stop. In fact, we’ve had massive flooding in Cape Breton before, then Hurricane Fiona, then fires, and now we have this flooding and then a pandemic,” he said.
But the city of Houston said there is still a strong sense of community, with first responders and residents gathering on weekends to help residents find shelter during floods and console each other.
“You can imagine the emotions, fear and terror that people are going through as the debris lifts up power lines and takes refuge in the area to see what happened,” he said.
Floods stripped road pavement, damaged 25 bridges and completely destroyed 6 bridges. Unable to reach neighboring towns, many residents are stranded.
Residents have been warned to seek shelter and avoid rivers and streams, and the statewide state of emergency will continue until Aug. 5. According to officials.
Houston said he was happy with federal help after speaking by phone with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and assuring Ottawa was on standby with financial aid to support rescue efforts and cleanups.