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New Brunswick spring flood efforts beginning to move from response to recovery

first_imgFREDERICTON — The director of New Brunswick’s Emergency Measures Organization says the response to this year’s spring flooding is slowly transforming from a response to a recovery operation.“Most regions along the Saint John River should be out of the flood stage by the end of this week,” Greg MacCallum said Tuesday. He said water levels along most of the river are making a slow but steady decline.However, areas between Jemseg and Saint John — along the river’s southern reaches — are expected to remain at or above flood stage until Saturday.But that doesn’t mean the response to the flood is over, he said.“Things start to look like they’re getting back to normal in some places and then you drive five miles and you see a road that you can’t go further on,” MacCallum said. “That’s to be expected.”The Transportation Department confirmed Tuesday that 82 roads remained closed, but many of them are expected to reopen in the next few days.The Trans-Canada Highway was closed to traffic between Oromocto and Riverglade, but local residents as far as Gagetown and Petitcodiac were being allowed to use the highway to get to their homes.Ahmed Dassouki, director of the department’s operations branch, said the entire highway could be reopened this week.He said the water has retreated and most of the debris, such as trees and driftwood, has been removed.However, he said the highway requires an inspection once all the debris has been cleared away.The New Brunswick director of the Canadian Red Cross said while some people have begun returning to their homes, the agency is still housing 433 people in hotels.Bill Lawlor said free household cleanup kits are being distributed, and a fundraising effort has generated $241,000 so far.About 240 soldiers had been helping with the flood response, but that number is now down to 150, and Lt.-Col. Sean French says more soldiers will be returning to Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in the coming days.The public is being advised to boil any well water that may have been contaminated by the floodwaters.MacCallum said there’s still a lot of work ahead, but the weather forecast looks good for the rest of the week.“We will exercise patience and wait for the sun to come out and the waters to recede,” he said.Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Presslast_img read more