Is NL ready for hurricane season?
In one of the most active hurricane seasons ever, NDP Critic for Fire and Emergency Services George Murphy (MHA, St. John’s East) wants to know the state of emergency preparedness in the province.
The provincial government has told municipalities to create emergency preparedness plans, but for many towns and service districts who rely on volunteers, this is a difficult task, says Murphy.
He also wonders why it has taken more than two years to repair damage caused by Igor, the most destructive storm ever to hit the province.
“Igor did a lot of damage to infrastructure in the province,” said Murphy, “some of which still hasn’t been repaired – and a lot of what has been repaired has been replaced with, for example, culverts the same size as the ones that proved inadequate in previous storms. I’d like to know what government has done to be better prepared for the next hurricane to hit our shores.”
The island of Newfoundland is struck by an average of seven hurricanes each year, on top of other natural disasters such as ice storms and forest fires which might need emergency response. “Our infrastructure is always vulnerable,” says Murphy. “We saw this as recently as last weekend when roads washed out in several central Newfoundland communities.”
“It’s not enough for Minister O’Brien to tell municipalities to be prepared,” said Murphy. “The province should be actively ensuring an appropriate state of preparedness, including helping with the plans they have mandated.
“I also think it is disgusting that, two years after Igor, we have still not repaired the destruction caused by that one storm.”
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