Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. island hit by Igor needs army: resident

A resident stranded on an eastern Newfoundland island that was hit by Hurricane Igor wants the federal government to call in the army to help.

A resident stranded on an eastern Newfoundland island that was hit by Hurricane Igor wants the federal government to call in the army to help.

"We need the military with their organizational skills ... their equipment," Random Island resident Barbara Dean-Simmons told CBC News on Thursday.

"They can help with the road rebuilding and even go door-to-door to check on people, because this is too much for us to be able to handle on our own. I haven't heard any mention of the army being called in, but I certainly think we need something like that right here right now."

Police said Wednesday that many parts of the island are only accessible by boat because Hurricane Igor washed out at least four island roads Tuesday.

"It's just incredible. I can't describe it," said Dean-Simmons, the editor of a weekly newspaper in the area. "We're on our own, basically … neighbours helping neighbours."

Random Island, which includes 12 communities, is about 35 kilometres long and more than 15 kilometres wide in some places. While the provincial government is trying to restore services, Dean Simmons said hurricane damage has made it difficult for people to get basic needs.

"Most of the island, people have private wells. My neighbour told me yesterday her well collapsed, so she has no water. Even if we do have water, it should be boiled before drinking because we do have runoff," she said.

Roads washed out

The two gas stations on the island are cut off from most communities by road washouts, said Dean-Simmons. One of those stations couldn't pump gas Thursday because it had no power. Households are also struggling to deal with power outages.

"We do have some food supplies but we don't have power. So our food is starting to spoil," said Dean-Simmons. "Anything with an expiry date is probably not good to eat. I'll like to see a helicopter come in and say, 'Here is some help.'"

There has already been one tragedy on the island. A Random Island resident, Allan Duffett, 80, was swept down a rain-swollen river during the hurricane Tuesday. His body had not been recovered by Thursday.

RCMP officers reached the island by boat Wednesday to investigate what happened and help find his body.

On Tuesday, when Igor was lashing eastern and central Newfoundland the Minister of National Defence and cabinet minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador, Peter MacKay, issued a statement.

"The Government of Canada, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces continue to closely monitor the effects and impact of tropical storm Igor as the storm system moves away from our eastern coast. I spoke with Premier Danny Williams Tuesday and assured him that the Canadian Forces stand ready to respond should the support of its personnel, equipment and specialized capabilities be needed to help the people of Newfoundland and Labrador."

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