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Photo of damage from fallen tree limbsPhoto of damage from fallen tree limbs

Photo credit: Shannon Long, Town of Antigonish

Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Canada began clean-up work in Antigonish, Nova Scotia on September 30 in response to Hurricane Fiona.

That’s when volunteers from the Bethel Mennonite Church in Waterville, Nova Scotia, about a three-and-a-half hour drive from Antigonish, arrived to start cutting down fallen trees in the coastal town of 4,300 in the northeast part of the province.

“The town saw lots of damage from high winds and rain,” said Nick Hamm of the MDS Ontario Unit, who was sent to Atlantic Canada to support MDS’s Atlantic Canada Unit.

Hamm and MDS Atlantic Canada Unit Chair, Benny Penner, met with the Antigonish Emergency Management Team and took a tour of the town to assess the damage and determine how MDS could help.

Although many residents have already taken care of fallen trees, MDS has been asked to help about 50 homeowners with their trees.

“I expect more will ask for help once the word gets out,” said Hamm.

MDS’s priority will be to help vulnerable residents, including those experiencing economic challenges, seniors, accessibility and health concerns, said Shannon Long, Marketing and Communications Officer for the Town of Antigonish.

“We so appreciate the support of MDS,” she said.

After getting things set up in Antigonish, Hamm and Penner will go to Cape Breton to see how MDS can help in that area; additional volunteers from Elmira, Ontario are expected to start working in Cape Breton the week of October 3.

At this time, it is not known how many volunteers will be needed, or what work MDS might be asked to do, Hamm said.

“I know there is lots of damage in many parts of Atlantic Canada,” he said. “Based on what I know right now, I expect there may be lots of work for us there.”

Those who want to volunteer can sign up for a volunteer wait list by contacting Clara Flores at cflores@mds.org or by calling 1-800-261-1274.

Donations are also welcome for MDS’s response in Atlantic Canada; click here to donate.

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