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Prime minister approves request for military help as Newfoundland deals with flooding

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has approved a request for military assistance for southwestern Newfoundland, where road washouts from a punishing rainstorm have left the region cut off from the rest of the province.

Trudeau issued a brief statement on Twitter Friday, saying members of the Canadian Armed Forces will be deployed to the area to provide logistical and transportation support.

Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair followed up with a tweet of his own, saying the military will provide air support to help with evacuations and supply chain maintenance.

Meanwhile, construction crews have begun repairing the Trans-Canada Highway in southwestern Newfoundland, but the largest town in the area — Port aux Basques — is already experiencing shortages of food and fuel.

The coastal community, which is home to 4,000 people, faced rapidly rising floodwaters Tuesday and Wednesday as a large, low-pressure system dumped more than 160 millimetres of rain over the area, flooding basements and undermining local roads.

The nearby Codroy Valley was inundated with more than 200 mm of rain.

On Friday morning, the province shared a video on social media showing an excavator hoisting a large culvert into a hole where a portion of the Trans-Canada Highway used to be, near Overland Brook.

Motorists in the region are being urged to avoid the roadside construction sites.

The province has also established a helpline for residents.

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