March 3rd, 2024

As Nova Scotia emerges from under heavy snow, some residents await rescue

By The Canadian Press on February 6, 2024.

A person shovels snow in Halifax on Monday, February 5, 2024. Cleanup in Nova Scotia could take days after more than a metre of snow piled up in some parts of the province over the weekend. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Some residents in Cape Breton were anxiously awaiting rescue Tuesday after wet, heavy snow jammed entrances to homes and blocked roadways.

Cleanup in Nova Scotia could take days after up to 150 centimetres of snow accumulated in parts of the island over the weekend, prompting Cape Breton Regional Municipality, which includes Sydney, N.S., to declare a state of emergency.

Debbie Crane, 61, says she hasn’t left her home in Whitney Pier, a neighbourhood in Sydney, since Friday evening, after snow and blowing winds created drifts that blocked both entrances and buried her car.

In an interview Tuesday, she said she had already missed one kidney dialysis appointment.

“Hopefully sometime today (Tuesday) I’ll get out and I’ll be able to go (to my appointment) tomorrow (Wednesday),” she said, adding that she had called the municipality to ask for help with snow removal.

Meanwhile, Crane says she has had to limit her intake of fluids because she is uncertain when she will make it to hospital. “I’ve been chewing gum to keep moisture in my mouth, and I just use a little bit of water to take my medications,” she said.

“As the days go on, I’m growing more and more anxious about getting in for dialysis. But I try to keep calm and look on the bright side of things,” she said.

The province has requested aid from Ottawa as provincial and municipal snowplows struggle to clear the streets in the hard-hit northeastern regions.

Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan says Parks Canada will be sending snow removal equipment and the Canadian Coast Guard is sending helicopters. Organizations such as the Red Cross will help with humanitarian work, he says.

John Lohr, Nova Scotia’s minister responsible for emergency management, says his government has sought help from neighbouring provinces but needs federal aid to maintain public safety.

A state of local emergency that was declared on Sunday in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is set to remain in place for the rest of the week.

The Nova Scotia government says provincial offices in Inverness and Victoria counties as well as Cape Breton Regional Municipality will be closed Tuesday due to cleanup operations, while offices in Pictou, Antigonish, Guysborough and Richmond counties were scheduled to open at noon local time.

Nova Scotia Health says some non-emergency services may be reduced in the Northern and Eastern zones because of heavy snow and poor road conditions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 6, 2024.

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