P.E.I. offering first-ever disaster assistance program following Dorian
'This is an unprecedented situation that has touched all of us in one way or another,' says premier
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.
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.
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."