My Igor Experience
By Pam Pardy-Ghent
Monday September 20th was a little busier than usual. Southern and Eastern sections of Newfoundland were battening down the hatches for Hurricane Igor.
With my husband away at work in St. Johns, I was left to weather the storm with my two children at home in Harbour Mille. That night I settled my eldest in his room and tucked my two-year-old into bed with me.
Igor struck with a vengeance about 4 a.m. The rain fell hard and the wind blew with such a force it seemed the house rose before falling back again on its foundation. The water was coming in through the foundation of the basement, but a quick check showed the pump was doing what it was designed to do.
Others in the area werent faring quite so well, I later found out.
The barasway in St. Bernards-Jacques Fontaine had flooded. At least seven homes in an area known as The Gut were nearly submerged. Devon Brushett, with the help of some neighbours, rescued his grandparents from the second floor of their home. The water was so high he needed a boat to reach them.
Stewart Scott, another area resident, lost everything on the main level of his home, but still made it to work on time as the maintenance man for the town. He said he wanted to prevent the water from damaging other homes the way it had his own.
Still another man by the name of George Sheppard helped organize evacuations and assisted in getting his friends and neighbours to safety.
I tried to offer assistance, but it was quickly clear I wouldnt make it very far. Our own roads were flooded, in some areas as high as the windows on a truck. No one would be getting in or out of Harbour Mille just yet.
When the power went, my first thought was the sump pump. I grabbed a flashlight and ran down to check. To my horror, the hole was filled with water.
This is a short video of me bailing water from my basement. It's pretty dark, because the power was out at the time.
Shortly after 8 p.m. the power came back on. Within minutes the water was draining out of the basement. I had some minor cleanup to do, but nothing was damaged. We were lucky.
The roads leading to the Trans Canada Highway near Swift Current and Route 210 into Marystown at Rattle Brook Bridge were closed and we were cut off from the Trans Canada Highway and the rest of the Burin Peninsula near Boat Harbour.
But lack of transportation wasnt a huge concern, not when so many of our friends had lost their homes and everything in them.
The week that followed Igor was filled with amazing tales of survival, cooperation, and a general attitude of well make do.
Volunteers throughout the peninsula, myself included, worked with the Red Cross to get goods (especially fresh milk, fruit and potatoes and other items some families and seniors had been without for a considerable period of time) delivered. Those with gas to spare travelled to Long Pond Bridge to help carry donations over to our side of the peninsula.
The donated food items were sometimes accepted with hugs, sometimes with tears, but they were always received with words of gratitude.
By the 27th we were free to travel if we had the gas to get us anywhere, that is. On the 28th, a week after Igor struck, we finally had gas delivered to local stations. School reopened, and for all intents and purposes, we were back to normal. Well, most of us were, anyway.
Some in our region are still living with friends and family members. They have months, maybe years, of rebuilding ahead of them.
But help has already been pouring in. Besides food, clothing, bedding and other household items (furnishings included), have been donated. Things for them will eventually get back to normal as well.
The thing that sticks in my head the most? These four words posted as one young girls Facebook status the day after the storm;
I miss my house.
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