PEI

P.E.I. offering first-ever disaster assistance program following Dorian

As some residents enter a seventh day without power, the P.E.I. government is offering emergency funding to deal with the fallout of post-tropical storm Dorian.

'This is an unprecedented situation that has touched all of us in one way or another,' says premier

The province is offering its first-ever disaster assistance program following last weekend's storm. (Julie Shea/Facebook)

The P.E.I. government is offering emergency funding to deal with the aftermath of post-tropical storm Dorian.

P.E.I. residents will be able to access emergency funding from government in the coming days to aid in recovery costs, a news release from the provincial Emergency Measures Organization says.

The province's first-ever disaster assistance program will be rolled out at the beginning of the week to help Islanders, small businesses and non-profit organizations with costs to repair or replace uninsurable basic property loss.

Provincewide impacts like what has been experienced following Dorian have never been felt on P.E.I. before, Premier Dennis King said in the release.

"This is an unprecedented situation that has touched all of us in one way or another. We are in this together and we are here to help Islanders," he said.

Cabinet met Friday afternoon to begin activating the program. That step also triggers access to disaster relief funding from the federal government. 

Cabinet also approved a one-time emergency fund program for about 6,000 Islanders currently receiving income assistance to support their basic needs.

Under the program, individual income assistance clients will receive $110, a couple will receive $140 and an additional $30 will be provided to clients for each of their dependents.

Details about how and where Islanders can apply for financial assistance will be shared early next week, the release said.

Too late?

There is some criticism of the government's response.

Liberal MLA Hal Perry said if cabinet met Friday to discuss a disaster assistance program that was six days after the storm.

"Here it is a week after and now we are getting something, but we are not getting enough. You know what? It is a little bit too late," Perry said.

He said he appreciates government offering some aid now, but he would like to know more details.

'Now we've gone seven days after and many individuals still don't have power. Many individuals have lost not only property but income because of this,' says Liberal MLA Hal Perry. (CBC)

Perry said the prime minister offered to help the province already and King did not "pick up on that."

"He didn't reach out for that help until Friday of this week, and again we need to have a plan for Islanders in place so that  if this ever happened again Islanders don't have to go a week without any leadership."

Perry said government should have been better prepared for the storm.

"Now we've gone seven days after and many individuals still don't have power. Many individuals have lost not only property but income because of this," he said.

King stands by efforts

King is standing by the government's efforts.

"While the assessment is ongoing, the supports we are rolling out this week are going to help thousands of Islanders across the province who have been impacted by Hurricane Dorian," he said in an email.

He said the assistance program will help access federal funding.

"We know that this is a difficult time for so many Islanders and our focus is on helping them," he said. "This is a first step."

More P.E.I. news

About the Author

Tony Davis grew up on P.E.I. and studied journalism at Holland College. He can be contacted at anthony.davis@cbc.ca

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.