January 20, 2020 / 5:32 PM / a month ago

Canadian troops help Newfoundland residents dig out after record blizzard

(This January 20 story fixes second name of reporter in byline)

Canadian Forces members help residents with snow removal as the country's eastern province recovers from last week's massive blizzard, prompting several towns to declare their first state of emergency in more than three decades, in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada January 20, 2020. Canadian Forces/Joint Task Force Atlantic/Handout via REUTERS.

By Denise Paglinawan

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian troops were helping residents of Newfoundland and Labrador on Monday with snow removal and transportation as the country’s eastern province recovers from last week’s massive blizzard, prompting several towns to declare their first state of emergency in more than three decades.

The Government of Canada sent out about 300 of its armed forces on Sunday to help with such tasks, as well as conducting welfare checks on affected residents in the area, said Public Safety Canada.

The state of emergency in the province is the first in 36 years, the CBC reports and it remains on its fourth day on Monday, leaving schools, day cares and some pharmacies shut.

The winter blizzard left thousands of residents without power as snow went as deep as 76.2 cm (30 inches) on St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland, and packed wind gusts as high as 130 km per hour (81 mph) on Friday.

The snowfall at St. John’s International Airport on Sunday broke the daily snowfall record set on April 5, 1999, of 68.4 cm (26.93 inches), according to Environment Canada.

Roughly 12 centimeters of snow fell in the metro area overnight, with heavier snowfalls in other parts of the island, the CBC reports.

“The Government operations centre continues to coordinate the federal response effort by ensuring the province has the resources they need,” said Public Safety Canada.

The City of St. John’s said Sunday evening that pharmacies are not permitted to open on Monday as the state of emergency remains in the city. Only 11 pharmacies have been allowed by the city to open Monday from 1 p.m. (1800 GMT) to 7 p.m. (0000 GMT) local time.

The city is asking the public to stay at home unless they urgently need medication or essential baby supplies.

“We recognize the challenges caused by this State of Emergency and appreciate the cooperation of our residents as we work to reopen roads as quickly and safely as possible,” the city said.

Reporting by Denise Paglinawan, Editing by Franklin Paul

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