The federal government announced Friday that $4 million has been made available to support First Nations communities as they recover from the damage caused by post-tropical storm Fiona.
The storm hit Atlantic Canada nearly two weeks ago, bringing intense, hurricane-strength winds, torrential rains and devastating storm surge.
First Nations communities throughout Atlantic Canada experienced flooding, downed trees, damages to infrastructure and prolonged power outages. Mi’kmaw communities in Nova Scotia relied on each other in the aftermath, sharing generators, food and other supplies.
Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), which is facilitating the funding, said it has been working with leaders of First Nations, provincial emergency management organizations and Public Safety Canada to ensure the right supports are implemented as quickly as possible.
“First Nations chiefs and leaders in the Atlantic region have worked incredibly hard to keep community members safe from Hurricane Fiona,” Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu said in a news release.
“As the damages are assessed, and the focus turns to the planning for rebuilding, Indigenous Services Canada will be there every step of the way to help First Nations in the recovery of their communities.”
ISC said the funding has been secured through the federal government’s Emergency Management Assistance Program, and will support tree clearing and cleanup, and short-term building and critical infrastructure repairs.
It will also help with the replacement of spoiled food and water, the purchase of electric generators, fuel and other emergency supplies needed for future outages.
The release said the ISC is also offering a direct payment of $295 for each on-reserve household to help replace spoiled food and to help with food security.
“It’s important that we support all those affected by this storm. Ensuring Indigenous households on reserve are included in these supports will continue to be an important part of the work being undertaken by our federal government,” Jaime Battiste, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Liberal MP for Sydney-Victoria.
The ISC said more funding will be made available as needed during damage assessments and recovery.