Post-tropical storm Fiona battered eastern Canada with hurricane-force winds, torrential rains and huge waves that swept away homes and left hundreds of thousands of people without power.
Canadian troops have been mobilized to help recovery efforts after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to provide aid to those affected.
“I know this is an extremely difficult time for many people who have seen their homes, their property destroyed. But I also know that these people know that they are not alone and that we will be there for them,” said he declared.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said the roof of an apartment building collapsed in Nova Scotia’s largest city and authorities moved 100 people to an evacuation center. He said no one was seriously injured.
Provincial officials said other apartment buildings suffered significant damage.
“It’s quite terrifying”
Fiona has been charged with at least five deaths in the Caribbean, but there have been no confirmed deaths or serious injuries in Canada. Police say a woman who may have been taken was missing in the town of Channel-Port Aux Basques on the south coast of Newfoundland.
Raging waves pounded Port Aux Basques and entire structures were swept into the sea.
“I see houses in the ocean. I see rubble floating everywhere. It is complete and total destruction. There’s an apartment that’s gone,” said Wreckhouse Press editor and townsman Rene J. Roy.
Roy estimated that between eight and twelve houses and buildings had been swept away by the sea. “It’s quite terrifying,” he said.
More than 415,000 Nova Scotia Power customers – about 80% of the province of nearly one million people – were affected by outages on Saturday.
More than 82,000 customers in the province of Prince Edward Island, or about 95%, also lost power, while NB Power in New Brunswick reported 44,329 were without power.
Peter Gregg, president and CEO of Nova Scotia Power, said record peak winds inflicted severe damage and bad weather prevented repair crews from getting out early.
He said around 380,000 customers were left without power Saturday afternoon as a weakened Fiona drifted away over the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The Canadian Hurricane Center tweeted that Fiona had the lowest pressure on record for a storm making landfall in Canada. Forecasters had warned it could be one of the most powerful storms to hit the country.
The Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island were particularly hard hit, with gusts uprooting trees and bringing down power lines .
Rainfall of up to 125 millimeters has been recorded in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, authorities said.