Flood-damaged southwest N.B. aided by charity

New Brunswickers in the province's southwest are leaning on companies and local volunteers as they deal with last week's devastating floods.

Companies, volunteers, charities help region ravaged by high waters

New Brunswickers in the province's southwest are leaning on companies and local volunteers as they deal with last week's devastating floods.

A man wades through a flooded parking lot to get to his vehicle near the St. John River last week in Fredericton. ((David Smith/Canadian Press))

In the community of Bonny River, the local fire hall's parking lot was packed with trucks Wednesday as people came and went in a makeshift relief centre run by J.D. Irving Ltd.

"Our mandate is we need to get the people into houses with the basics supplied and we're doing that," said Gary Tingley, who is normally a manager at the company's Lake Utopia Paper mill.

At one point during the flooding — which was separate from the rain and storm surges pummelling the east and north of the province this week — there was no way in or out of Bonny River.

Many communities along stretches of southern and western New Brunswick saw extensive damage to roads, bridges and houses because of the floods.

Irving and Cooke Aquaculture have delivered dozens of dumpsters for cleanup to any home that has asked, and Irving mills have brought in pallets of free firewood.

Irving has also brought in electrical help for residents in damaged homes.

"We've got 23 people in the field," he said. "If someone comes in and needs a panel for their electrical, I call. We've got Kent's [building supplies] lined up from here to Moncton…. If I need a panel, I can have a panel in a truck in 20 minutes coming here."

At the Lions Club in Pennfield, local residents have been delivering supplies and presents for displaced families.

Quispamsis resident Megan Kingston skipped a school Christmas party to lend a hand.

"I thought the people needed it more than I did because I'm going to celebrate Christmas with my family," she said. "I don't need to really celebrate it at school when other people need help."

A Christian relief organization will head to Zealand, N.B., after Christmas to help out.

Calgary-based Samaritan's Purse Canada said in a news release that a specially equipped trailer would arrive in the town, about 35 kilometres northwest of Fredericton, on Dec. 27.

The charity will work with local volunteers from the region to manage and provide cleanup and other recovery assistance to residents.