The provincial government is calling in the military to help with the recovery from Friday’s blizzard.
“A request has been made to the Government of Canada for assistance, including mobilizing the Canadian Armed Forces, to provide relief to areas of Newfoundland and Labrador affected by severe winter weather,” Premier Dwight Ball said on Twitter Saturday.
Federal Public Safety Bill Blair replied on Twitter that the formal request for assistance “has been received and approved.” Blair added he’s in touch with the premier, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan about “how best we can help.”
O’Regan told reporters in Winnipeg that federal help will focus on snow removal and access to hospitals so medical staff working 36-hour shifts can get relief.
“Whatever assistance that we have available and that we can mobilize on the ground, it will happen,” O’Regan said. “Getting them ready and getting to that point has been leading up to this decision.”
The state of emergency will remain into effect into tomorrow in St. John’s as the city tries to dig out from a record-breaking blizzard. Mayor Danny Breen said said he doesn’t know when it will be lifted. He added the city has received permission from O’Regan and the St. John’s Port Authority to dump snow in the harbour.
Five people were evacuated from The Battery Friday night after an avalanche hit one house, Breen said.
A spokesperson for Newfoundland Power said about 17,000 customers were without power as of 1 p.m. Saturday.
About 77 centimetres of snow fell at St. John’s International Airport, eclipsing the single-day record of 68.4 centimetres in 1999. The airport authority says flights will not resume until 8 p.m. Sunday as crews work around the clock to clear all the snow. Passengers should contact their airlines for flight information and rebookings.
Mount Pearl received 93 centimetres of snow. The state of emergency also remains in effect there and in surrounding municipalities, as well.
St. John’s City Hall says the state of emergency remains in effect until further notice. All businesses are ordered to remain closed; shops closing regulations are suspended and all vehicles are prohibited from using City streets except emergency vehicles; police, fire and ambulance.
During night time, please:
– stay inside, away from roads
– do not ‘play’ in the road including using recreational vehicles or other outdoor equipment (ie. slides, snowboards, etc.)