No further information immediately available.
Published Saturday, December 1, 2018
Quebec's public security minister says the government's priority is making sure people in the Magdalen Islands are safe, following a severe windstorm that knocked out power and telecommunications services Thursday.
"My priority now is the safety and health of the people over there, and then it's to have people over there being able to feed us with precise information about what is needed," said Genevieve Guilbault.
Power lines were knocked down and the two fibre optic cables that link the islands to the mainland were cut by the storm, which brought winds reaching speeds of 120 kilometers an hour to the area.
The Quebec government asked for assistance from the military late yesterday.
A Canadian Forces airplane is headed to Montreal and Quebec City to pick up more Hydro workers, Bell employees, civil servants, and material before landing in the Magdalen Islands this afternoon.
Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says Ottawa is also sending military personnel to help local authorities do health and safety checks with residents.
While conditions are improving, there is still work to do to recover. Guilbault said the government is looking at what can be done long-term to fortify the fibre optic lines that provide phone and internet service.
She did not provide details, saying the government doesn't have an accurate overview of the situation yet.
Olivier Leblanc says he was inside his home when the windstorm hit overnight on Thursday. "I live in the house made of wood, so at one point, it was quite scary," he said.
Once cell service was restored, he received a flood of calls from family and friends concerned about his well-being. "There were a lot of people trying to call me to see what was happening," he said. "All they've heard about the tempest is that the army is coming and we are isolated. It looked like a disaster but in fact, everything is OK."
Storms are not out of the ordinary, Leblanc says. "At this period of the year, we have the worst tempest of all because there is no ice around the island so the waves are coming crashes and the wind has no barrier to stop it," he said. "We get hit at full force." Leblanc does admit that the province needs to take a look at the infrastructure and see if there is some way to prevent the power from going out every time there's a storm.
Canada Infrastructure Disruption Facts
Affected Area: 1 km.
Alert Level: Yellow