Red Cross announces $40 million to support Alberta wildfire evacuees as they return home

EDMONTON, May 30, 2016 /CNW/ - The Canadian Red Cross will provide an additional $40 million to help evacuees return home following the devastating wildfires in Alberta. The Red Cross will work in close collaboration with the Government of Alberta, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and community groups to support families and individuals as they re-enter their communities over the coming weeks and months.

This will support transportation for people evacuated as a result of the fires who do not have any financial assistance available through work or insurance to travel back. This service will include charter buses from Edmonton, Calgary and Lac La Biche as well as flights from across the country. The Red Cross will also provide a second wave of emergency financial assistance available after re-entry – $300 for one member of each household and $50 for each additional member.

"Going home will not be easy – the fires not only destroyed homes and infrastructure but for many families also wiped out their basic supplies such as food, clothing, linens and hygiene items," said Jenn McManus, vice president of Alberta operations for the Canadian Red Cross. "Thanks to the generosity of Canadians, I am pleased to announce that we are able to provide additional emergency financial assistance to households after re-entry, to help people meet their immediate needs."

The Canadian Red Cross will offer a range of additional services to all residents when they arrive, such as fire cleaning kits for damaged households and guides on returning home for parents and caregivers. Teams of Red Cross staff and volunteers will validate information for financial assistance, and provide kits and safety and well-being services at eight Information Centres set-up throughout the community.

"It is a priority for us to get our citizens back home safely, with services in place to best help them through what is bound to be a very challenging experience," said Mayor Melissa Blake, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. "We look forward to working alongside the Government of Alberta and the Canadian Red Cross to successfully bring our residents home."  

"The Canadian Red Cross is extremely proud to work with the municipal and provincial governments to help people through this challenging time," said McManus.

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For a Media Fact Sheet on Red Cross support for Alberta wildfire evacuees as they return home, please click here.

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SOURCE Canadian Red Cross

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For further information: Canadian Red Cross media line: 1-877-599-9602; Alberta media can call: 1-403-541-4431; Quebec media can call: 1-888-418-9111


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