Internet, phones restored on Iles-de-la-Madeleine after storm cuts communications
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, November 29, 2018 6:21PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 30, 2018 12:30PM EST
The cellular and Internet networks for Iles-de-la-Madeleine were restored on Thursday evening, a day after a major wind storm effectively cut the island off from the rest of Quebec.
A Canadian Forces plane was dispatched on Friday to bring relieft to the island's residents, who had been unable to call the mainland due to damage to two underwater cables.
Cdn Armed Forces @RCAF_ARC Hercules aircraft now enroute to Les Iles-de-la-Madeleine to assist in recovery from severe storm. Govt of Cda will support prov+local authorities to help keep everyone safe.— Ralph Goodale (@RalphGoodale) November 30, 2018
Mayor Jonathan Lapierre said one of the cables is now "functional," but hundreds of residents were still affected by power outages.
Winds of up to 130 km/h and rough seas battered the islands during the storm.
Between Wednesday and Thursday night, the only working phone was a satellite phone at the Quebec provincial police detachment. No boats were able to reach land before Friday, and the airport is closed because communications in the control tower have been knocked out.
Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault said Thursday afternoon the emergency was beyond the provincial government's capacity to respond so it was necessary to turn to Ottawa.
She said the military plane will transport equipment and employees from the Departments of Health and Public Security and from Hydro-Quebec and Bell Canada "to re-establish a satellite communication system."
She said the storm and the resulting blackout have not led to any injuries.
Premier Francois Legault said earlier Thursday that his primary concern is if someone needs to leave the islands because of a medical emergency.
Quebec's transport minister said the roads are in decent shape. Hydro-Quebec reported about 2,000 customers on the islands were without power as of Friday morning.