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Cablegate: Thanks a Lot, Juan

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

301024Z Sep 03

UNCLAS HALIFAX 000308

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON AEMR CASC ASEC CA
SUBJECT: THANKS A LOT, JUAN

REF: HILL - OPS CENTER TELCONS 9/28 AND 29

1. SUMMARY: Hurricane Juan crashed through Nova Scotia and
Prince Edward Island during the late evening/early morning of
September 28/29, leaving two dead, two missing and millions of
dollars in property damage. We have no reports of AMCIT deaths
or injuries. Consulate is open to the public but will be at
reduced staffing levels, probably for the remainder of the week.
END SUMMARY.

2. Hurricane Juan made an unwelcome visit to Nova Scotia and
Prince Edward Island September 28/29. The storm killed two,
downed trees and power lines and did millions of dollars worth
of property damage. Two fishermen are also missing. We have no
reports of AMCIT deaths or injuries. Coastal areas and moored
boats were particularly hard-hit; a number of buildings suffered
extensive damage when high winds ripped off roofing materials
and allowed rain to flood in. Several hundred thousand people
and businesses were left without power. Telephone lines seemed
to do better in the storm than power lines, so some people still
have phone service at home. Although the cell phone system was
overwhelmed at several points on September 29 on the whole it
functioned reasonably well.

3. Cleanup efforts are underway, but the power company cautions
that it may be the end of the week before many people have their
electricity restored. Maine's Governor Baldacci called Nova
Scotia Premier Hamm in the wake of the storm to offer
assistance; power line repair crews from Maine will be arriving
to assist their Nova Scotia Power counterparts. New Brunswick
has also sent repair crews to Nova Scotia and PEI. 600 military
personnel have been assigned to cleanup operations. Halifax's
downtown core has electricity and public transport has resumed
on a limited schedule. Hospitals are open although many
elective procedures are being postponed. Municipal, provincial
and federal governments have told non-emergency personnel to
stay home to keep roads clear for cleanup crews.

4. CONSULATE OPERATIONS: We have been in touch with all but
one Consulate staff member; all are safe, although only one has
electricity as of Tuesday morning and several do not have phone
service. Main power was out until the afternoon of September 29
in the office tower where the Consulate is located, but Consul
was able to verify that there was no damage to our facility and
that alarms were operating on battery power. With power now
restored we have re-opened for business but will operate at
reduced staffing until hazards are cleared from the roads and
travel becomes safer for our personnel. We anticipate resuming
full operations NLT October 6. Government-owned Consul
General's residence was hemmed in by fallen trees but suffered
no damage in the storm, although it has been without power since
about 11:30PM Sunday night. Liaison with RCMP protection and
technical services branches has been excellent throughout the
emergency.

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