Residents have been using sandbags to try to protect their homes. Photo: CBC News

Cooke sends boats to help Canada flood victims

Cooke Aquaculture has dispatched three boats and personnel to embark on flood relief efforts a few miles to the east of its headquarters in Blacks Harbour in eastern Canada.

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The salmon farmer has already sent 10,000 sand bags the Grand Bay-Westfield and Kennebecasis Valley areas.

The St John River which runs through the communities rose to a little over 5.1 metres on Wednesday and is expected to reach six metres "and possibly higher" over the weekend, according to an update issued by the town's Emergency Measures Organisation. Flood level in the area is 4.2 metres.

“The three boats can hold a total of up to 36 people and can be used to help move people from flooded areas or move goods and supplies to areas where flood waters have cut off access,” said Cooke press spokesman Joel Richardson.

“They can also be used to quickly move emergency personnel or for other emergency response needs.”

‘Plan for the worst’

CBC News reports that New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant warned residents to “plan for the worst” as floodwaters in the southern reaches of the St John River are expected to surpass the levels of 1973, the province's worst flood in the past 82 years.

"We know many people in the affected areas have seen floods before, so many peoples' reactions may be to say, 'Oh, we've seen this before,'" Gallant said. "We're not sure that's the case."

Cooke put its boats on standby last week after offering support. The boats are being trailered this morning from St George for staging and assignment by the Emergency Measures Organisation.

Family-owned Cooke farms salmon in Canada, Scotland and Chile, and also grows sea bass and sea bream in Spain.