Canada's Atlantic provinces begin to recover from Fiona Fiona made landfall as a hurricane-strength post-tropical cyclone, causing widespread damage in five provinces and leaving more than 190,000 people without power.

Canada's Atlantic provinces begin to recover from historic damage caused by Fiona

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1124974167/1124974168" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

The scope and heft of this year's Atlantic hurricane season is expanding. Cuba and Florida are bracing for Ian, which is expected to strengthen to a hurricane, and the effects of Fiona are still being felt. In a moment, we'll get an update on Puerto Rico. First, we're checking on the Atlantic coast of Canada, which suffered unprecedented damage from Fiona. Brad MacConnell is the chief of police of Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island, and he's overseeing the emergency response there. Good morning.

BRAD MACCONNELL: Good morning.

RASCOE: First, I want to say I'm so sorry about what you and your community are facing. Can you help us to understand the extent of the damage there?

MACCONNELL: Well, first of all, thank you. It's important for us to know that others are thinking about us here in P.E.I. as we deal with this very difficult event. You know, it's a historic storm here in Prince Edward Island, devastation that we - a level of devastation we haven't seen before. So it's a very difficult situation, so we're - but we are a strong community here in Charlottetown and across the island and across the Atlantic provinces. And so in times of difficulty, we come together to work through them. And that's what we're doing here now.

RASCOE: What is your most immediate concern for the area right now?

MACCONNELL: Well, certainly restoring power. You know, we know a lot of people rely on power for a lot of things and - including medical devices and, you know, not just outside the hospital, but in home, out - so with the - with our province, you know, almost in a complete blackout, except for some reasons, our priority is to get power restored, you know, get our streets opened so people can access the things they need and access each other to support each other.

RASCOE: And so help us to understand the severity of this storm. I know you said that this is something that people in your area have never seen before. How much property damage do you think you're looking at right now? I know it's just getting started. Obviously, it's a whole blackout. Like, what type of damage are we looking at?

MACCONNELL: Devastation, Ayesha. We haven't been in a position to do a full assessment yet. We're still in contact with our provincial emergency measures organization and our partners, like our utility, to get a full appreciation. But we're hearing from different sources that there's a lot of devastation. People have lost their complete homes that washed away. We know that people are isolated because of downed trees and power lines. So, you know, there's a lot going on here right now.

RASCOE: But I do want to say right now, you guys don't know of any casualties or severe injuries right now.

MACCONNELL: That's correct. We're not aware of any loss of life or severe injury, which has been a blessing. But again, we still don't have a full appreciation of the extent of the impact. So we wouldn't want to certainly minimize that at this point.

RASCOE: Charlottetown has a population of about 40,000. What will recovery look like, and how long do you think that this will take?

MACCONNELL: It will take weeks for sure. And Charlottetown is the capital city of our province. It's a hub city where most of our commerce and people come. So although our sleeping population is around 40,000, you know, our daytime and the population we support is probably more like 80,000 on a daily basis, so - 80, 80,000. So, you know, we got a lot of people to support.

RASCOE: So Brad MacConnell is the chief of police of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Thank you so much. And please stay safe.

MACCONNELL: Thank you very much.

Copyright © 2022 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.