Cablegate: Picking Up the Pieces After Hurricane Juan

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

080939Z Oct 03




E.O. 12958: N/A



1. (U) Nine days after Hurricane Juan, life in Nova Scotia and
Prince Edward Island has largely returned to normal, although
several thousand people still remain without power in a number
of hard-hit areas, including some near the center of Halifax.
While Juan's human toll was relatively small -- two deaths
directly attributable to the storm and three indirectly caused
when a candle started a fire in a house without electricity --
the economic impact is still being added up. Premier John Hamm
told the provincial legislature that he expects the damage toll
to be in the range of C$100 million (US$75 million), although
that number could well climb as more detailed assessments are
made. The Royal Bank's Senior VP responsible for Atlantic
Canada, Wayne Bossert, told Consul General that the overall
effect of the storm on regional GDP growth could be slightly
positive, with business and farm losses more than
counterbalanced by the stimulative effect of rebuilding efforts.
In Bossert's view the level of insurance coverage will
ultimately determine whether Juan adds or subtracts a percentage
point or so from Atlantic Canada's economic growth rate for the

2. (U) Harder to assess and repair than damage to homes, farms
and businesses will be the impact on the ambience and quality of
life in Halifax, Charlottetown and other areas caused by the
wholesale uprooting of trees. Halifax's Point Pleasant Park,
for example, was transformed overnight from a leafy refuge to a
tangle of downed hardwoods. News coverage does not really
capture the full extent of the damage done to parks and some of
the city's older tree-lined neighborhoods. While wood carvers
may see a silver lining to the storm due to abundant supplies of
timber in the near term, the vast majority of residents and
visitors will be worse off until new maples and oaks have had
time to grow and replace those that have been lost.

3. (SBU) Politically, the seeming indifference of Ottawa to
the effect of the storm on Nova Scotia and PEI could exacerbate
a feeling in the Atlantic Provinces that no one in the rest of
Canada pays much attention to what goes on here. Liberal
leader-to-be Paul Martin visited Nova Scotia shortly after the
hurricane, but the absence of senior government officials and
particularly the Prime Minister has been -- fairly or not --
noted and commented on unfavorably. On the positive side, the
cleanup efforts of hundreds of Canadian military personnel have
gone down well with the general public, as has the work of power
line and tree trimming crews from Maine. There have even been
reports of arriving cruise ship passengers -- many from the U.S.
-- volunteering to help with cleanup efforts.

4. (U) CONSULATE OPERATIONS: Response of Consulate staff to
this crisis has been outstanding. The office fortunately
suffered no damage in the storm and we were able to open to the
public on September 30 after power was restored. Staff members
-- many of whom had no electricity at home for much of the week
-- skirted fallen trees and downed power lines to get into work;
we have been operating at full strength since October 1.


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