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HRM Closes Down EMO Emergency Operations Centre
(Saturday, September 15, 2001-- 11:50 a.m.AST )-- Halifax Regional Municipality's Emergency Operations Centre has been advised that the last of the international flights diverted to Halifax earlier this week due to terrorist attacks in the United States has left the Halifax International Airport.
As a result, the municipality's Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) Operations Team has officially closed down its Emergency Operations Centre at the Eric Spicer Building in Dartmouth.
All of HRM's 18 emergency shelters have been closed and the facilities have been handed back to their owners-- Halifax Regional School Board, the Canadian military, St. Mary's and Mount St. Vincent universities, the I.W. Akerley Community College, Exhibition Park, St. George's Greek Orthodox Church and St. John Vianney Church, and HRM's Building Management Services.
The HRM Emergency Operations Centre was activated about noon on Tuesday, September 11th, shortly after international terrorists launched attacks on New York and Washington. The U.S. government quickly shut down its air space to all commercial aircraft and more than 40 international flights bound for American cities were diverted to Halifax International Airport.
HRM quickly arranged accommodation for most of the 8,000 passengers travelling on those flights, and by 3:30 a.m. the following morning (Wednesday) the last of those travellers arrived at one of the 18 emergency shelters the municipality had established throughout the metro area.
Halifax Regional Police, RCMP, Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service, Halifax Transit, the HRM Corporate Call Centre, Parks and Recreation Services, Nova Scotia Department of Community Services and the Red Cross are just a few of the many municipal/provincial groups or agencies that virtually worked around the clock since Tuesday to accommodate these visitors.
Mayor Peter Kelly, on behalf of Halifax Regional Council, yesterday extended his thanks and appreciation to all municipal employees, the local business community, individuals, volunteer groups and organizations, as well as the many federal/provincial departments and agencies, that assisted HRM in this relief effort during the past five days.
There was a tremendous outpouring from the local business community, who provided food, clothing, blankets and other goods and supplies to HRM for the emergency shelters.
Aside from the HRM emergency shelters, more than 4,000 residents responded to a call to billet some of the stranded travellers in their homes.
Yesterday, the Joint EMO forces of HRM, the Province of Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada facilitated a bus/ferry, user-pay service option into the U.S. through the Port of Yarmouth for those passengers who decided not to return on foreign-flag air carriers to their points-of-origin eg. Munich, Paris, Milan, etc. (The U.S. government ruled Thursday that only American-registered air carriers would be permitted entry and landing rights at U.S. airports.)
Many of the remaining passengers booked commercial accommodations in the Halifax area last night and are expected to board chartered buses for Yarmouth today and Sunday to embark on ferry services to the U.S. ports of Bar Harbour and Portland, Maine.
Barry Manuel, EMO coordinator for HRM, today extended sincere thanks and appreciation to all HRM employees, the business community and residents of the municipality, federal and provincial agencies , the media ,and the many volunteer groups and agencies who devoted so much time and effort to making the emergency relief operation such a success during the past five days.
HRM Corporate Communications Officer