Armed forces have been deployed in Canada after Storm Fiona wreaked havoc in the country's Atlantic provinces.
After surging north from the Caribbean as a hurricane, Fiona came ashore before dawn on Saturday (24 September) as a post-tropical cyclone, battering Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Quebec with hurricane-strength winds, heavy rains and huge waves.
Defence Minister Anita Anand said troops would help remove fallen trees and other debris, restore transportation links and do whatever else is required for as long as it takes. She did not specify how many troops would be deployed.
Watch homes in Newfoundland destroyed by a storm surge:
Fiona was blamed for at least five deaths in the Caribbean, but there was no confirmation of any fatalities or serious injuries in Canada. Police said a woman who might have been swept away was listed as missing in Channel-Port Aux Basques, on the southern coast of Newfoundland.
Raging surf battered the town and entire structures were washed into the sea.
"This is hands down the most terrifying thing I've ever seen in my life," said Rene J Roy, chief editor at Wreckhouse Press and a resident of the town.
"I'm seeing homes in the ocean. I'm seeing rubble floating all over the place. It's complete and utter destruction. There's an apartment that is gone."
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the town of 4,000 people was in a state of emergency with multiple electrical fires and residential flooding.
Severe hurricanes in Canada are rare, as they lose their energy as they travel north and hit colder waters. The last major weather event in the country was Hurricane Dorian in 2019, and before that, Hurricane Juan hit the nation in 2003. Meteorologist Bob Robichaud warned on Friday (23 September) that Fiona would be bigger than Juan and stronger than Dorian.
"It's certainly going to be an historic, extreme event for Atlantic Canada," he said.
#Fiona is moving northeastward through the Gulf of St. Lawrence as hurricane force wind gusts continue over parts of southwestern Newfoundland. Find more information at: https://t.co/zTOlK3Hj6X pic.twitter.com/qAN9KLJTpM— ECCC Canadian Hurricane Centre (@ECCC_CHC) September 24, 2022
As the extent of damage became clear, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled his trip to Japan for the funeral of assassinated former prime minister Shinzo Abe.
"We are seeing devastating images coming out of Port aux Basques," he said.
Fiona is the most intense storm (rated by lowest pressure) to strike Canada 🇨🇦 on record.— Scott Duncan (@ScottDuncanWX) September 25, 2022
932.6 hPa from the core during landfall on Hart Island, Nova Scotia. pic.twitter.com/YbmH7pjMm6
"PEI (Prince Edward Island) has experienced storm damage like they've never seen. Cape Breton is being hit hard, too.
"There are people who see their houses destroyed, people who are very worried – we will be there for you."
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