Canadian navy vessel headed to areas hit hardest by Fiona

TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s defense minister said Monday that 100 soldiers have been deployed to each of three Atlantic provinces hit by former Hurricane Fiona and a navy vessel will visit the most devastated area of Newfoundland, where 76 homes were destroyed or structurally damaged.

Defense Minister Anita Anand said the HMCS Margaret Brooke will conduct wellness checks at four hard-hit communities. She more troops are ready if called upon.

After surging north from the Caribbean as a major hurricane, Fiona came ashore before dawn Saturday as a post-tropical cyclone, battering Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Quebec with hurricane-strength winds, rains and waves.

Fiona swept homes into the sea in one Newfoundland coastal community and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people in Eastern Canada.

Anand said troops would help remove fallen trees, restore transportation links and do whatever else is required for as long as it takes.

Fiona was blamed for at least five deaths in the Caribbean, and two deaths in Canada.

Authorities found the body of a 73-year-old woman who had been missing in Channel-Port Aux Basques, a town on the southern coast of Newfoundland.

And the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Monday they have ended a weekend search for an 81-year-old Nova Scotia man missing since Friday who is believed to have been swept out to sea during the storm.

Gudie Hutchings, the federal lawmaker for the area in Newfoundland hardest hit, said 76 families did not have a place to live.

“Pictures do not portray the utter devastation in this area,” Hutchings said. “It will be a long time before this area gets back on its feet.”

Across Atlantic Canada, eastern Quebec and in southwestern Newfoundland, the economic impact of the storm’s wrath is still being tallied.

And electricity had yet to be restored to 266,000 homes and businesses. At the height of the storm on Saturday, more than 500,000 were in the dark, including 80% of Nova Scotia Power’s customers and 90% of Prince Edward Island.

Utility companies warned it could be several days before the power is back on for everyone.