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Help on the way for flood victims in New Brunswick

Staff writers

March 27, 2012 — Severe flooding forced hundreds from their homes in Perth-Andover on Friday. A recovery program is in place for those affected.

Cindy McLaughlin emotionally assesses the damage at her bridal shop Sunday
Cindy McLaughlin emotionally assesses the damage at her bridal shop Sunday

The St. John River breached its banks on Friday resulting in significant flooding in Perth-Andover, New Brunswick. A state of emergency was declared and about 500 residents were evacuated from their homes.

The Weather Network's Shelley Steeves says waters began to recede on Sunday, leaving massive chunks of ice and mud littered across roads and walkways.

Residents Jolene and Brian say it all happened so suddenly and are unsure when they'll be able to return home.

"When I went to work on Friday morning the water was about even with the banks of the river, and about 11 o'clock when I looked out, the water was running down the street. So it all happened in just hours," says Jolene.

The couple grabbed what they could and rushed out of their home.

Some residents who were evacuated on Friday have been allowed back into their homes to assess the damage. It could be some time however, before people are able to live in their homes once again.

The flood impact has been devastating for local business owners as well. Cindy McLaughlin owns a bridal shop, which experienced thousands of dollars worth of damage.

"I just can't get over the damage. There's probably around $130,000 worth of dresses here," she emotionally told The Weather Network Sunday. "The jewelry, the headpieces, everything is all destroyed. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do."

Rising waters inundated homes, vehicles and government offices
Rising waters inundated homes, vehicles and government offices

Although many residents in the area aren't insured because they live on a flood plain, the government is stepping in to provide assistance.

New Brunswick Premier, David Alward toured the region over the weekend and said the flooding is "beyond imagination."

"We know there are about 150 properties with significant damage and there's significant damage to government infrastructure as well. This is why we have approved the creation of a disaster financial assistance fund to help affected residents get back on their feet as quickly and as efficiently as possible," says Alward. "Please know that our hearts and our minds are with all of you as we work through this disaster together."

The provincial government says the recovery program will include property inspections and financial relief. The damage is estimated at $25 million.

Mail delivery was suspended Monday after the flooding rendered the local post office inaccessible. Canada Post has set up a temporary pick-up station, which will be available on Tuesday.

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