New Brunswick premier says province can handle flooding during COVID-19 crisis

New Brunswick’s premier says his government will do what’s necessary to protect citizens if there is spring flooding while the COVID-19 crisis is still underway, and that could mean calling in the military.

“We’re watching it very closely and currently we’ve had melting conditions that are like a typical March. We hope that continues,” Blaine Higgs said.

“We will be prepared to deal with a flood situation,” he said.

Geoffrey Downey, a spokesman for New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, said the Environment Department has upgraded equipment and software to enable flood forecasters to work from home.

He said the organization and its River Watch partners will adapt “to meet health and safety requirements, such as social distancing or working remotely.”

Department spokeswoman, Anne Mooers, said ice remains in place in most rivers, and the focus at the moment is on “stopping the spread of the virus” by having all non-essential employees work from home.

Higgs says he has also spoken to the commander at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown to see if the military would be available to help if necessary.

“It’s certainly an option available to us. I was very pleased with their participation last year,” the premier said.

He said he hopes soldiers won’t be needed this year, “but it’s nice to know they’re there if we need them,” he said.

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