About 100 homes flood in Eskasoni First Nation after heavy rain

About 100 homes in Eskasoni flooded after a rain storm Monday in Cape Breton, Chief Leroy Denny said.

'Be patient, check on your elders,' advises Chief Leroy Denny

Much of Cape Breton was hammered by heavy rain and wind Monday, flooding people's basements. (CBC)

About 100 homes in Eskasoni First Nation flooded Monday night as Cape Breton was hit with heavy rain and wind, the chief says.

"We just had a small number of people we had to evacuate, where they live near the rivers," Chief Leroy Denny said. 

Boil order

About 200 millimetres of rain fell, overflowing the main roads, a ball field and a bridge near the school, Denny said. 

The band has imposed a precautionary boil water order. Officials have been warning about sewage backing up in pipes and into roadways. The Mi'kmaq community of about 4,000 people borders Bras d'Or Lake in eastern Cape Breton.

Power is out, and may not be restored until early Wednesday morning, according to the utility, Nova Scotia Power.

Chief Leroy Denny kept his residents up to date by Facebook Live Monday. (Leroy Denny/Facbook)

'Safety's number one'

The chief held Facebook Live updates throughout the day, including an appearance by Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke in the latest one at 11 p.m. AT. Governments would pay careful attention to water quality, the two said.

"The most important thing now is people's safety. Safety's number one, and health, so that's what we're focused on," Clarke said in the video. 

"We're all part of the same community in one big Island family, and this is the worst weather event for rain we've experienced, and it has been devastating and something we want to make sure we get recovered from as soon as possible."

Volunteers needed

Two tour buses had been stranded in Eskasoni for several hours, Denny said. They had been attending a Celtic Colours International Music Festival concert of Mi'kmaq and Gaelic music, he said.

Roads were reopened in the evening, but Denny encouraged residents to stay home for safety. Rain was expected to continue in the early morning hours of Tuesday. 

"Be patient, check on your elders," Denny said.

"We will need volunteers in the next couple of days to clean out basements."

With files from Joan Weeks