“We want evacuees to know that they’re not alone.”
That from Canadian Red Cross VP of Alberta and the Northwest Territories Jennifer McManus, who announced $40 million in additional support for those affected by the Fort McMurray wildfire.
$15m of that funding will go towards helping evacuees return to the region. Buses will be departing from Edmonton, Calgary, and Lac La Biche to assist those who aren’t receiving funds for transportation from their company or insurance providers. Those who are out-of-province also have the option of registering for flights to Edmonton through the Red Cross, then catching a bus from there.
The program will help provide transportation to those who were forced to abandon their vehicles in the evacuation, or those who don’t own vehicles.
Residents returning to the region will also be provided with an additional direct payment by the Red Cross. The funding will provide $300 to the main household registrant, and $50 for each additional household member. McManus said a family of four would receive $450 under this system.
“This assistance is intended to ease the stress of re-entering your community,” she said. “And to help you with the purchase of urgent household supplies and goods, groceries, and personal items.”
Recipients must already have registered with the organization in the initial evacuation, and they must confirm their return to the region at one of the welcome centres set up by the municipality in order to receive their funds. The Red Cross is also distributing information on how to receive the funds once the welcome centres close, for those who don’t plan to return right away.
The direct payments, to be distributed via e-transfer, will total $25m according to McManus.
The Canadian Red Cross is also supplying an expansive cleaning kit to each household, details of which can be found here.
McManus assured residents that the organization’s support won’t end here.
“Rebuilding and recovering from a disaster takes time,” she said. “The Canadian Red Cross is proud to work alongside the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to support you as long as we are needed.”