Hurricane was nearly two months ago, but rebuilding efforts are still ongoing.
A shed clings to an embankment, gravity threatening to pull it into the bay. Wooden scraps that used to be a wharf lay piled up on the shore.
Hurricane Larry went on the warpath during the early hours of the morning on Sept. 11. Now, nearly two months later, the approximately 250 residents of Parker’s Cove on the Burin Peninsula, as well as other coastal towns, are still navigating the process of repairing damage. Parker’s Cove is an outport village roughly 40 kilometres north of Marystown.
“It was equal to a tornado, or something you’d see on TV that you never thought would happen here,” said Melvin Murphy, a 71-year-old fisherman.
Murphy has become the unofficial spokesman for the people of Parker’s Cove who are seeking financial assistance from the provincial government. While he doesn’t have an exact figure on the total monetary cost of the damages, Murphy estimates it to be well into the thousands.
After being told that there would be no compensation from insurance due to the companies calling the storm an act of God, Murphy started a petition and brought it around to other citizens to try and drum up some support from government.
“The government should be liable, they help out in a lot of other places, so why should it be any different for the people of Parker’s Cove? It was a great loss to an awful lot of people.”
The petition is somewhat unnecessary, according to John Hogan, minister of Justice and Public Safety . He says a plan is in place to provide relief for people who were affected.
“There was enough damage from this hurricane, as far as we can tell, to trigger the Disaster Financial Assistance Program, which is partially funded at the federal level,” said Hogan. “So we’ve sent a letter to the federal government letting them know we want to avail of this program and we’ve recently advised the general public and municipalities that the program will be activated. So anyone who feels they may be entitled can contact our department and open a claim.”
Much like a normal insurance claim, said Hogan, the process of information gathering will take some time before any cheques are issued.
“It’s difficult to say how long the process will take. We have to do an assessment for every person who makes a claim, then it gets assessed by the federal government as well,” said Hogan.
The whole process, he says, will take months.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Disaster Financial Assistance Program is based on the government of Canada’s Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements program. The estimated loss eligible for coverage in this province must exceed $1.7 million in total for the entire province for the program to be activated.
That amount is based on a population estimate of 520,998, so even though the hurricane only affected a portion of the province, the damages were quite significant. More details on the federal cost-sharing formula and guidelines for the Disaster Financial Assistance Program are available at publicsafety.gc.ca.
*Editors note: The reporter is not a relation of Melvin Murphy.