Hundreds of New Brunswick residents remain displaced following spring floods

Published: July 6, 2018

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Months have passed since New Brunswick was hit by a storm that resulted in record floods, causing damage to infrastructure and properties, but hundreds of residents remain displaced from their homes.

Bill Lawlor, director of the Canadian Red Cross in the province says 120 residents are in emergency accommodations, but many others are in their own living arrangements that are not their homes.

“We had well over 300 people at the height of the evacuation and it’s gone down to as low as 70,” he said. “The number has gone up and down, but it’s stabilizing now and we’ll continue to see it decrease.”

In the wake of the April and May flooding, 12,000 properties were affected, and the provincial government says dozens of homes cannot be fixed. While the storms ended two months ago, many residents found alternative places to stay and are only now contacting the Red Cross.

“Some thought it was a short-term situation but eight weeks later they call us saying, ‘I can’t couch surf anymore, I have children,'” he said.

“Some people are in their driveway, they’ve set up their recreational vehicle or trailer while their home is being repaired or they figure out what to do next,” he said. “Others remain with a host family, but they’re not under our care.”

Lawler also believes the summer is causing problems for residents wishing to return home. This is the season of renovations, with many homeowners making changes to their properties. Homeowners affected by the flooding are struggling to find tradespeople to do the necessary repair work:

“For those folks who have needed to be completely out of their home or have moved back but have significant renovations underway or are waiting for work to be done, it’s very stressful and draining,” Lawlor said.