Last month, Atlantic Canada was battered by one of its worst storms, Hurricane Fiona.
“Climate change is making hurricanes more intense,” said Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy Solutions for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, in an interview with the NB Media Co-op.
She said the situation requires an emergency response.
“But we also have a planning response that’s needed,” she said, noting that cell coverage was an issue during the storm.
“So we have improvements to make on making our infrastructure more resilient to these storms. But we also have to do more in between storms, to plan for these events, including making decisions about whether or not we move people out of the locations they currently are in so that they’re not exposed to hurricane risks in the future.”
Check out the full interview with reporter Arun Budhathoki:
Comeau made suggestions to prepare for the next possible hurricane, such as improving natural assets like wetlands and developing risk assessments.
She believes telling people to move from coastal areas will always be challenging. “There’s a lot of emotional attachment to where we live,” she said.
“There also has to be rules. And that could include, if you choose to build in a location where we know there are risks, then maybe you have to sign a waiver, saying that you won’t ask for disaster relief, for example.”
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Hurricane Fiona caused $660 million in insured damage. The insurance sector is also changing the way it operates because of climate change.
“They either will not insure you,” Comeau said, “or they will insure you, but at a very high cost.”
Arun Budhathoki is a journalist with the NB Media Co-op. This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada, administered by the Canadian Association of Community Television Stations and Users (CACTUS).