Surviving Storm Fiona: Lori Dicks Finds Oasis After Calamity Destroys 100 Homes

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A year following the turmoil wrought by the massive swell stirred up during post-tropical storm Fiona, Lori Dicks had escaped the clutches of the ocean’s reach, perched securely upon the heights of a hill, with a calming view of the distant ocean extending before her.

Although she found solace in her newfound distance from the sea, the catastrophe that unfolded on September 24, 2022, in Port aux Basques, N.L., remained rooted firmly within her thoughts. The calamity had not only affected her home but reshaped the entire landscape, tearing down houses along its destructive path.

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Lori now resided in Burin Bay Arm, N.L., far from the coastal line where once stood her home alongside many others now reduced to rubble. Fiona had annihilated close to 100 homes within Port aux Basques. A woman of 73 years succumbed to the force of the storm, being swept out into the violent sea. Ancestral family homes were damaged beyond repair, with countless families losing all their belongings.

For nearly three decades, Lori and her husband, Claude, had nurtured their lives in the house that Fiona had shattered. Once the storm ravaged their home, deeming it unfit for habitation, Lori managed to salvage whatever she could in the short duration she was granted.

The storm’s destructive impact led the local authorities to declare a high-impact zone in Port aux Basques. Within this area, more than 80 homes bore the brunt of Fiona’s wrath, with many no longer habitable. According to Mayor Brian Button, the remaining 57 houses would be bought out by the government to facilitate the house owners in finding safer accommodation.

The Department of Justice and Public Safety announced that in light of the disaster, the provincial government has compensated with about $41.6 million to citizens in southwestern Newfoundland who were victims of this catastrophe.

Though the decision to displace people from their homes was heart-wrenching, it was an essential step considering the drastic reduction of the town’s coastline, making remaining homes dangerously proximate to the water. The mayor acknowledged the mental health toll the situation has caused on the community whilst dealing with confrontations from grief-stricken residents.

With the threat of extreme weather conditions increasing due to global warming, Ashley Smith, owner of Fundamental Inc., urged coastal communities to proactively take measures rather than be forcibly displaced following a horrific storm like Fiona.

Lori’s new life in her hilltop home in Burin Bay Arm was an emotional journey marked with excitement for her soon-to-arrive grandchild and a heartwarming fear for her husband and dog who had witnessed the relentless fury of the storm. She yearned for her Port aux Basques neighbors while fearing the sight of her old neighborhood that had lost many homes to Fiona’s wrath, and found solace in not having to bear witness to it daily.

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