Flood cleanup kits offered in Cape Breton

Each kit from the Canadian Red Cross includes a bucket, broom, plastic bags, disinfectant, rubber gloves, masks and other cleaning items.

Canadian Red Cross prepared 180 kits for people whose homes flooded earlier this week

Canadian Red Cross volunteers Donna MacDonald and Marylynn Hurley. (Joan Weeks/CBC)

Dozens of people with flood damaged homes in Cape Breton took advantage of an offer from the Canadian Red Cross Saturday. They picked up free cleaning kits to start the overwhelming job of getting their homes back to normal.

The Red Cross made up 180 kits. They include a bucket, broom, plastic bags, disinfectant, rubber gloves, masks and other cleaning items.

Disaster relief volunteer Marylynn Hurley said someone was waiting at the door when they arrived at 8:30 a.m. and it has been steady since.

60 kits in 4 hours

"Everyone seems to have their own story," Hurley said. "We're hearing stories of great devastation. It makes me feel sad but it makes me feel good as well because we are able to give them something in return."

The Canadian Red Cross handed out 60 kits in the first four hours.

Janet Chenhall said sewage water came into her home during the flood. (Joan Weeks/CBC)

Janet Chenhall was one of the people picking up a cleaning kit. She lives on a hard hit area of Cottage Road in Sydney.

"We had over five-and-a-half feet of water," she said. "But it was our sewer. It was sewage water that came in," Chenhall said.

Chenhall said it's taking a long time to get help because there is so much demand for cleanup services and inspections.

'There's mould growing now'

"We had to wait for an adjuster for at least two or three days before he was able to come," she said.

"But the problem is that we're on a list for a quote I guess for somebody to come in and clean up the mess and look at what it's going to cost to fix the basement."

Chenhall said her family and a neighbour have come to start the cleanup. She said they were afraid to wait any longer.

Removing floodwater from homes was a losing battle for many people in Cape Breton after 225 millimetres of rain came down in 24 hours. (CBC)

"We can't stay in the house like this. The smell is so terrible. There's mould now growing. It didn't take long. My family have come down this morning. There's a few of us and our neighbour and we're just going to start doing it ourselves."

The Canadian Red Cross said it expects to to continue handing out cleaning kits on Sunday.

About the Author

Joan Weeks


Joan Weeks has been a reporter with CBC in Sydney for over a decade. Many of her stories are investigative with a focus on government spending and accountability, as well as health and economic issues important to Cape Breton.