Six months on, Red Cross spends $178 million to assist people affected by wildfires

FORT MCMURRAY, AB, Nov. 3, 2016 /CNW/ - Six months after a devastating wildfire swept through the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the Canadian Red Cross is proud to announce that $178 million has already been spent to assist those affected by the fires. More than 58,000 households have received direct financial assistance through an electronic transfer of funds.

The fundraising total for the Alberta Fires Appeal has reached $319 million, thanks to generous Canadians, community groups and corporate partners. This total reflects the contributions of more than one million Canadians, who rallied to donate $185 million, plus $104 million in matching funds from the Government of Canada and $30 million in matching funds from the Government of Alberta.

"The Canadian Red Cross continues to support the people of Fort McMurray and area as they recover and rebuild following the fires," said Conrad Sauvé, president and CEO, Canadian Red Cross. "Disasters affect people in different ways, with needs emerging and changing over time. The Red Cross is committed to being in the Wood Buffalo region for as long as it takes to guide those affected along their road to recovery."

Red Cross personnel are working directly in the Fort McMurray area and have helped thousands of people affected by the fires through confidential one-on-one appointments. The funds received to date are enabling the Red Cross to assist in the following ways:

1)  Assistance to Individuals and Families -- $227 Million  allocated; ($165 Million spent to date)

  • Emergency shelter, registration, food, clothing, hygiene items, medical equipment, transportation, clean-up kits, and occupational items to help people return to work.  
  • Financial housing assistance to help with rent, as well as the replacement of furniture, appliances and household goods.
  • Rebuilding of homes through collaboration with experts in the area of clean-up, repair and rehabilitation of homes.

2)  Community Initiatives -- $50 Million allocated; ($7 Million spent to date)

  • To date, 30 community initiatives that have a direct impact on the community of Fort McMurray and surrounding areas have been funded. This includes funding provided to local foodbanks.

3) Support to Small Business -- $30 Million allocated; ($6 Million spent to date)

  • To date, 3,296 eligible small businesses have received emergency financial assistance to help with uninsured losses, clean-up and property damage.
  • Application forms for the second phase of the Red Cross Support to Small Business Program are available online at

Additional details on Red Cross recovery efforts to date can be found in the Alberta Fires Six Month Donor Update.

People with severely damaged or destroyed homes due to the Alberta wildfires are encouraged to call the Red Cross at 1-888-553-5505 to make an appointment for a confidential assessment. Red Cross recovery assistance is based on need, not loss, and is available for all evacuees who were permanent residents of the region at the time of the evacuation, regardless of where in Canada they may now reside.

As the Red Cross continues to assist the people affected by this disaster, regular progress reports will be posted on our website: Projected areas of spending and allocation of funds are subject to change based on needs identified by the individuals and communities affected by this disaster. Red Cross assistance will not duplicate existing support available from municipal or provincial governments, or from insurance.

Donations will be held in a separate trust fund to be used only for Alberta Fires relief and recovery efforts. The fundraising cost related to this emergency appeal will not exceed five per cent. All remaining funds will be used for Red Cross operations to support vulnerable people, families and communities affected by this disaster. This includes a small portion of funds, one and a half percent, which ensures the Canadian Red Cross is ready and prepared to respond to future disasters. Fundraising costs are associated to the total funds donated to date ($185 Million), not the grand total including the matching funds.

For additional information about Red Cross funding for community organizations, please visit:  

Additional information related to the Alberta fires including information for evacuees can be found at

Visit to read stories by Red Cross staff, volunteers, supporters and friends.

SOURCE Canadian Red Cross

For further information: Media Contact Information: Canadian Red Cross, National media in English: 1-877-599-9602; National media in French: 1-888-418-9111; Alberta media: 1-403-541-4431


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