Toronto non-profit steps in to help Atlantic Canadians after Fiona slams east coast

Fiona has come and gone but it's far from sunny skies for Atlantic Canadians. This Toronto non-profit is mobilizing fast to help them recover from the post-tropical storm that caused so much devastation over the weekend.

"We've got to pull together as Canadians to help," said Rahul Singh, executive director of GlobalMedic

Volunteers for disaster relief organization GlobalMedic are seen packaging food in Toronto's Cloverdale Mall. The packages will go to families in Atlantic Canada impacted by post-tropical storm Fiona. (CBC)

A Toronto non-profit is mobilizing to help Atlantic Canadians grappling with the aftermath of Fiona, the post-tropical storm that swept away homes, left thousands of people without power and killed an elderly woman.

GlobalMedic, an organization that helps get aid to people affected by natural disasters and conflict, most recently helped flooding victims in Pakistan and people displaced by war in Ukraine. Now, it's also committing to sending food, clean-up and hygiene kits to affected families in the Atlantic Canada.

"We've got to pull together as Canadians to help," said Rahul Singh, the executive director of GlobalMedic, told CBC Toronto on Monday as his staff packed food  in Cloverdale Mall to send to people in need on the east coast.

"This is the time that people need us."

Governments in P.E.I, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick are grappling with damaged roads, businesses and properties, while some residents continue to make due without power. The military has been sent into the hardest-hit areas in N.S., N.L and P.E.I.  to help clear debris.

WATCH | An aerial view of the destruction in Port aux Basques, N.L.:

Drone video shows devastation in Port aux Basques, N.L.

4 months ago
Duration 0:53
Footage shot over Port aux Basques, N.L., shows the damage caused by post-tropical storm Fiona.

Locally, Singh says people can help Atlantic Canada by donating directly to GlobalMedic, volunteering, or spreading awareness of ongoing relief programs — particularly since the federal government is matching donations to only one major relief provider.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday evening that the federal government will match all donations made to the Canadian Red Cross for Hurricane Fiona relief efforts for the next 30 days.

Rahul Singh, executive director for GlobalMedic, says the organization is supported by more than 6,000 Canadian volunteers. (CBC)

"When you create a matching fund that benefits one agency, it comes at the expense of other agencies," said Singh.

"We all do good work. We all try to help, and this program actually takes money out of our pockets."

Former Ontarian saw homes get 'washed away'

Tanya English is one of the lucky ones.

The former Stratford, Ont. resident arrived safely by car at her home in Port aux Basques, N.L, Saturday morning after dodging incoming waves that swamped other vehicles on the roads. She had originally set out to watch the storm — but instead, Fiona came to English and her neighbours and left behind what she calls a "war zone."

"I'm looking out my window, watching homes being washed away," English told CBC's Metro Morning on Monday

Tanya English talks about seeing homes floating down her street in the aftermath of one of the most devastating hurricanes to hit Canada.

English and her neighbours were hit with 134 km/h winds, 77 millimetres of rain and water levels rising over a metre. Nearly 100 homes in southwestern Newfoundland have been destroyed, and one woman was killed when a powerful storm surge swept her out of her home.

English says brown water is coming out of her tap, grocery stores still have some empty shelves and some neighbours are still displaced. But recovery has begun.

"I think today we'll have more answers as to what's needed," she told Metro Morning.

With files from Alison Chiasson