Fort McMurray is burning! How to help evacuees

I’m sure you have heard and seen on the news the horrors going on in Alberta, Canada, right now, with wildfires burning out of control for a week. Fire has consumed hundreds of homes; over 90,000 people living in Fort McMurray communities have been evacuated – many with thirty minutes notice. Too many have lost everything except for the few items they were able take with them.

One of my cousins and his family are six persons of those thousands. He took his wife, their four children, and their dog, and headed farther north to one of the work camps for temporary refuge.  On Wednesday they were able to drive south, closer to Edmonton, Alberta. I haven’t received an update for a few days. According to news reports it seems the area in which they live may have been spared, but they don’t know yet if their house was actually untouched. 

Donations of necessities and also money are pouring in. Our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said that whatever donations are sent to the Red Cross for this disaster will be matched by the government. Now that’s a good deal.

I am writing this post to inform you of ways you can help too, monetarily, should you be able to do so.

First of all, if you are in contact with anyone who was evacuated because of the wildfires in Alberta, it is important that they let officials know where they are and what their needs are. They cannot be given financial government assistance until they register with the Red Cross, so please tll them to do so right away by calling 1-888-350-6070.  Understandably, that number is very busy, so if they are unable to wait for a representative to take their call, they should leave their contact number for a call-back. And tell them to save all their receipts for purchases of food, accommodations and other expenses related to their plight in case their insurer will reimburse them.

Because this is such a traumatic experience, mental health support is also available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.

YOU can call 1-800-418-1111 to make a money donation to the Canadian Red Cross to help those displaced. When I called, I worked on some paperwork while waiting for someone to get to me in the queue. Yes, it was a long wait so listen to the recorded message that cuts in and you will learn what to do about donating if you cannot stay on the line. Okay, I’ll tell you what it is: “Thank you for holding. Did you know that you can press 1 on your phone now and we will hold your place and call you back? Otherwise please stay on the line.”   Have your credit card ready. Even $5 will be of help. 

The other option available to you if you want to make a much-needed money donation and can’t use a credit card is to mail a cheque or a money order. Since this will be a longtime ongoing situation, your donation will be needed and appreciated. Mail it to the address below and mark on your cheque that it is for Alberta wildfire relief to be sure it goes specifically for that:     

Canadian Red Cross
P.O. Box 39
Saint John
New Brunswick
Canada
E2L 3X3

There are offices located in provinces closer to Alberta, but this is the one closest to me and will do fine for anyone.

Thank you for your prayers and donations. This is such a horrible time for so many people. It’s a huge and historic evacuation for Canada and it’s no where near ending yet.  The fires are still raging and spreading, having devoured over 156,000 hectares now because it’s VERY dry in Alberta.  There are currently 40 other active fires, most of which are now under control. 

Please pray for heavy rainfall which is desperately needed for Fort McMurray and surrounding areas being ravaged by fire.

THANK YOU.

Do you know anyone affected by this crisis?

Thank you for reading, and for your help.

 

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4 responses to “Fort McMurray is burning! How to help evacuees

  1. How thoughtful of you to post this Lynn. My brother worked in Fort MacMurray for many years but is retired now. Also my cousins and some friends have worked there in the past. Although no family members have been affected by this tragedy, it is till a huge concern. It has been all over the news in Europe as well. I do hope your cousins are all right. I can´t even imagine going through this.

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    • Darlene, I hope this post encourages others to do even a little something to help. I heard some refugees have contributed, knowing what it’s like to lose everything.
      Thank you for letting me know that news of this tragedy has hit the worldwide press. It IS a major event.
      I’m waiting to hear an update about my cousins. No one can go back to Fort McMurray yet, and it is going to be difficult for many for a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Any word from your cousins?

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    • Thanks for asking, Darlene.
      My uncle told me that on Saturday my cousin & family moved into a 1 bedroom apt that a generous landlord made available to them; he expects to have a 3 bedroom apt available in a month or so. So far there’s no word of damage to homes in their area, but neither is there any sign of fire being brought under control any time soon. My cousin figures that even when they are able to go back to their house, it will be many months before they could move back as there will be problems with community amenities.
      It’s an ongoing dire situation.

      Like

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