'I don't know what I'm going to do': Nova Scotians still struggling with power outages 11 days after Fiona
Volunteers band together to help those getting by without electricity
Ten days after post-tropical storm Fiona blew through Nova Scotia, there are still thousands of Nova Scotia Power customers waiting for electricity and some who have no idea when it will come back on.
"They don't know. They said it would be on last Wednesday at 11 p.m.," said Fred MacDonald, a resident of Little Harbour in Pictou County.
MacDonald said he and his neighbours agree Fiona was the worst storm in "at least 100 years." He has a lot of trees around his property and estimated 75 to 80 fell down.
"I live on the water and there would only be one or two trees down, but never to the magnitude of this," he said.
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A couple of fallen trees blocked his car, but he said neighbours were able to help get it free.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," MacDonald said. "I'm going to have to get a contractor in. It can't just be two guys and a chainsaw. It's devastating."
MacDonald said he had to throw away everything in his fridge. He said he's glad he had a rain barrel to collect water so he could keep his toilet flushing.
"That's the only way to use the bathroom — takes two buckets at a time to flush."
MacDonald said his portable radio helped, but that the batteries recently died. He said not having power is isolating.
"It's just the solitude," he said.
In Truro, Mayor Bill Mills estimated 10 to 15 per cent of residents still don't have power. The expected restoration time for some is Sunday.
"It's starting to get really tough, and you know, we have people who have kids who haven't had a shower or bath or they can't do their homework," Mills told CBC Radio's Information Morning on Tuesday.
He said he's receiving many calls and emails from residents wondering why their neighbour's power has been restored, while they're still in the dark.
"I've been frustrated since the beginning of the storm about where the power trucks go, if the power trucks go," he said.
The mayor is also urging people not to go into Victoria Park, which he called "a very dangerous situation" post-storm.
"There are many trees that are leaning against other trees ... and trees can shift at a moment's notice and you don't want to be in the way of some of these hemlocks," he said.
Listen to Mayor Bill Mills' full interview:
Helping people endure power outages
Don Wadden, the retired fire chief of the Little Harbour Fire Department, is volunteering at the station to help people get through the extended power outage. Residents were able to stop in and get something to eat and drink.
"They're coping quite well, I think, for all the damage that's been done in the lack of power," Wadden said.
Wadden said they're feeding 60 to 65 people a day, plus he said some people are stopping by throughout the day for water.
"It is what it is, there's nothing we can do about the weather," Wadden said.
Wadden said there is a lot of damage and mess to clean up, but that work is underway to clear it. He said the community is coming together to try to help one another.
Greg MacDonald, a captain at the Blue Mountain Fire Department in Pictou County, N.S., has been doing community check-ins as people go 10 days without electricity.
"We made a list of all the seniors and people that were kind of vulnerable and we've made a few meals and we've delivered them to the community," MacDonald said.
"A lot of them don't have family members or family members that are close by, so we feel like it's our part of our duty to help our community."
'Burn barrel gourmet'
Brian Pace in Ecum Secum, N.S., has also been without power for 10 days and is washing dishes, clothes and himself with rain water.
Pace turned his burn barrel into an outdoor oven and has used it to roast vegetables and bake a lemon poppy seed cake. He's shared the food he's made with neighbours.
"This is the way you should live through a storm, don't you think? Burn barrel gourmet," Pace said.
With files from Preston Mulligan, Kayla Hounsell and Colleen Jones