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When Hurricane Fiona stormed ashore in Cape Breton in September 2022, one of the first things it hit was Sean and Amy Casey’s house.

The Caseys live right on the edge of the Island beside Deep Water Cove. “Out house is 10 metres from the cliff,” said Amy. “We know because MDS measured it.”

Fiona, she said “is a storm we will never forget. We’ve had many big storms over the years, but we didn’t realize how bad this one would be. It has changed a lot about the way we see things.”

To be on the safe side, the family—mom, dad and two children–loaded up a van with valuables and belongings and parked it beside the house in case they needed to make a quick escape.

That plan ended when the wind blew a neighbour’s roof right off and deposited it on the van in their driveway.

“The wind got higher and higher and louder,” she said. “It sounded like a train coming through our house.”

 

They could hear their own roof banging up and down as the night wore on. “Things kept getting worse and worse,” Amy said.

In the morning they took stock of the damage—their yard was filled with debris and half their roof was gone.

Without insurance to fix their house, they didn’t know what to do; it’s very expensive to get insurance for older houses like the one they live in.

As a family, she said, “we’re rich in lots of things. But we don’t have a lot of money.”

Then Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) came along and offered to fix their house. “You saved our home,” Amy said. “It meant the world to us. We are very thankful. You gave us hope. Thank-you for everything you’ve done for our community.”

John Longhurst, MDS Canada Communications

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