Ontario Government’s Emergency Response: DRAO Activation

In the aftermath of a series of severe thunderstorms that wreaked havoc across southwestern Ontario on August 23, 2023, the Ontario government has taken swift action to support affected residents. The activation of the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians (DRAO) program underscores the government’s commitment to the safety and well-being of those impacted by this natural disaster.

The thunderstorms, which battered the Township of Warwick, the Municipality of Southwest Middlesex, the Town of Essex, the Municipality of Lakeshore, the Town of Kingsville, and the Town of Amherstburg, left a trail of destruction in their wake. The repercussions included localized flooding, power outages, washed-out roads, and flooded basements. Environment Canada reported a staggering 180 millimetres of rainfall between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie from August 23 to 25, with a maximum of 214 millimetres recorded in Harrow in the Town of Essex. Essex County experienced a one-in-100-year event, receiving the highest amount of rainfall.

Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, expressed the government’s solidarity with the affected residents. Calandra commended the efforts of municipal staff, volunteers, and emergency responders who went above and beyond to support those impacted by the flooding in the affected municipalities. The government’s activation of the DRAO program underscores the need to provide crucial assistance during natural disasters.

The Disaster Recovery Assistance program applies to primary residences and their basic contents and to small businesses, farms, or not-for-profit organizations. It is designed to provide financial aid for emergency expenses and cover the costs of repairing or replacing essential property not covered by insurance. Low-income households can also apply for assistance for damages caused by sewer backup, which is typically not eligible under the program.

People in the affected area, including residents, small businesses, farms, and nonprofits, should check their eligibility through maps and program guidelines. The government says it is taking swift action to assist residents in recovering from the aftermath of severe thunderstorms. The goal is to support residents in rebuilding their lives and communities through collaborative efforts and a robust assistance program.