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Monday, January 12, 1998 Published at 11:28 GMT



World: Americas

Millions still without power after ice storm
image: [ As the sun rises in Canada over 900,000  homes are still without electricity ]
As the sun rises in Canada over 900,000 homes are still without electricity

Canadian troops and US National Guard soldiers have been called out to help restore power to areas cut off by a devastating ice storm that has ravaged eastern Canada for almost a week.

Canada's Defence Minister, Art Eggleton, said the military deployment was "the greatest effort in our history to lend aid in the midst of a crisis situation."


[ image: Temporary shelters in Montreal are full to bursting point]
Temporary shelters in Montreal are full to bursting point
In Southeastern Canada roughly 2.5 million people are still without electricity. The Premier of the Canadian province of Quebec, Lucien Bouchard, has appealed to residents who do have power in their homes to provide shelter to neighbours left without heating or electricity.

Mr Bouchard called for a "systematic and very large-scale" relocation operation to relieve emergency shelters. He said the shelters, housing 100,000 people, were stretched to the limit.

His appeal came after the Quebec power company, Hydro-Quebec, said that, contrary to its earlier predictions, it had not been able to make a dent in the number of households without electricity.

The president of the power company asked for voluntary cutbacks on electrical usage and for low priority buildings to be kept closed in order to avoid electrical surcharges that could hamper efforts to restore power.


[ image: Crews work hard to reconnect power lines in eastern Ontario]
Crews work hard to reconnect power lines in eastern Ontario
Hospitals have been recalling retired workers to cope with cases of carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from the use of unventilated heating units.

The ice storm began on January 5 and the weight of the ice toppled trees and power lines. The storm has been blamed for at least 11 deaths in Canada and four in the United States. At its peak, three million people were without power.

US feeling the deep freeze too

Snow and freezing rain in the northeastern United States also cut power to more than 200,000 households in Maine, as well as several tens of thousands in New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.

Air National Guard pilots rescued 16 people by helicopter from rural New York state on Sunday and in New York city, 9,000 people are staying in shelters.

"Although it will take weeks to repair the damage and restore power, we will continue to provide food, shelter and emergency services for as long as is necessary," said the New York Governor, George Pataki.


 





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