While many Fort McMurray residents have returned home following last month's devastating forest fire evacuation that displaced close to 90,000 people, thousands who have lost homes, apartments and belongings continue to receive financial and other support from the Canadian Red Cross - whether they are in Alberta or dispersed across the country including to communities throughout the Atlantic provinces. 

Atlantic Canadian Red Cross Communicatons Director Dan Bedell says the Canadian Red Cross response has involved some 1,580 volunteers, 669 of whom are in Alberta including 33 deployed from the Atlantic provinces.

Bedell says the Atlantic contingent has included twelve disaster volunteers from Nova Scotia, ten from Newfoundland & Labrador, nine from New Brunswick and two from PEI.

Canadian Red Cross

He says more volunteers will be sent in coming weeks to support ongoing work in Fort McMurray. As well, eight full-time staff from the Atlantic region have deployed to Alberta to provide specialized support in fields such as finance, human resources and communications technology.

Atlantic Red Cross

More than 900 other volunteers have been supporting evacuees either face-to-face at local Red Cross offices across the country, or processing well over 51,000 phone calls and 15,500 emails. Bedell says a significant share of those toll-free calls from evacuees have been processed by about 200 Red Cross volunteers working from offices in St. John's, Newfoundland, Dartmouth, Nova Scotion, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and in New Brunswick in Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John. As of June 10, Saint John was the only Atlantic centre still required to actively process Alberta evacuee calls.

Among evacuees who relocated temporarily to the Atlantic region, as of June 10, emergency financial support has been provided in person to almost 2,600 adults and children (1,350 in Newfoundland & Labrador, 640 in Nova Scotia, 451 in New Brunswick and 150 in PEI) to help with extraordinary expenses such as rent, food, clothing, medications and other essentials.

Atlantic Red Cross/Macleans Twitter

Bedell says dollar amounts vary based on individual needs and are in addition to money they may have received via electronic funds transfers directly into personal bank accounts or wire transfers as part of $50 million dispersed by the Red Cross to all eligible evacuees at $600 per adult and $300 per child.

Any Red Cross funds are separate from the $1,250 per adult and $500 per dependant provided by the Alberta government.

The Red Cross is also covering the costs of air and ground transportation back to Fort McMurray for any evacuees whose travel is not covered by their employers or insurance.

Upon return to Fort McMurray, they may receive an additional $300 for the first member of a household and $50 for each additional person, to help with basics like groceries and cleaning supplies.

The Red Cross also distributed boxed kits of residential cleanup materials and in many cases funds to buy new refrigerators if their appliance was spoiled and not covered by insurance.

To date, Bedell says Canadians have donated more than $128 million to the Red Cross to assist evacuees. And that figure does not include matching funds to be provided at a later date by the federal government for all donations from individual Canadians received up to May 31, and from the Alberta government for donations from individual residents of Alberta.

Canadian Red Cross

Donations plus pledges of matching funds have allowed the Red Cross so far to spend or allocate more than $165 million, including cash transfers to evacuees, emergency shelter, food, clothing and other aid, transportation back to Fort McMurray and help getting re-established, plus $50 million that will be transferred to other community organizations playing key roles in helping the Fort McMurray area recover from the disaster.

Alberta Fires Appeal/Robert Murray

Other donated funds will be used over the coming months or years to help those most severely impacted by the disaster, using criteria to be developed in consultation with the Alberta government, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, other community and Indigenous leaders and local organizations.

Atlantic Canadians wishing to make a financial donation to the Alberta Fires Appeal can still do so online, by calling toll-free 1-800-418-1111, in person at any Canadian Red Cross office, or by texting the word FIRES to 45678 to make a $10 donation. All funds donated to the Alberta Fires appeal are reserved for that disaster only, and Red Cross fundraising costs will not exceed five per cent of all monies raised.

Among the 33 disaster volunteers and eight full-time staff deployed to Alberta from the four Atlantic provinces to date (June 10), some have already returned home after three-week deployments while others are scheduled to be in Alberta through to the end of June:

* Doug Murphy, Moncton
* Cosmin Dinu, Moncton
* Sandra Craft, Fredericton
* Debra Gander, Fredericton
* Jacqueline Dallaire, Moncton
* Fred Bron, Riverview
* Stephen Daley, Saint John
* Glen Martin, Upper Kingsclear
* Denis Cormier, Dieppe
* Julie Snodgrass, Saint John (staff)
* Angela Robichaud, Saint John (staff)
* Christine Hoyt, Saint John (staff)
* Andrew McNulty, Saint John (staff)
* Stephen Kelly, Saint John (staff)
* Jean-Paul Blanchard, Saint John (staff)
* Rachel McCollom, Saint John (staff)

* Gary Lewis, Bridgewater
* Dave Rennie, Cole Harbour
* Karen Reinhardt, New Cumberland
* Michael Shaw, Gold Mines
* Doug Benedict, Truro
* Dale Miller, Truro
* Dianne Wasson, Truro
* Stephen Read, Marion Bridge
* Amy Campbell-Landry, Sydney
* Gerald Hazelhurst, Sydney
* Sandra Barteaux-Trafton, Kentville
* Deborah Trueman, Dartmouth
* Kalina McCaul, Halifax (staff)

* Jillian Mullowney, St. John's
* Eileen McCann, St. John's
* Margo Edison, St. John's
* Ryan Wade, St. John's
* Ruth Peach, Gander
* Hope Maloney, Gander
* Silas Thompson, Gander
* Jackie Thompson, Gander
* Ronald McIsaac, Stephenville
* Carol Ann Caines, Stephenville

* Michelle Arsenault, Charlottetown
* Sarah Jones, Charlottetown


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