As a massive wildfire continues to rage, the global Red Cross network steps up efforts to help people in need. American Red Cross staff members and volunteers started arriving in the country on May 11. They are helping families at the request of the Canadian Red Cross, who has been leading relief efforts since the wildfire broke out on May 1.
The disaster has forced more than 88,000 residents of Fort McMurray and surrounding areas to leave their homes in search of safety. The fire has destroyed approximately 2,400 buildings—including homes—and has spread to an area of more than 500,000 acres. When people were evacuated, they left not knowing if they would have a home to go back to.
The Canadian Red Cross is registering those affected by the fire in order to facilitate the distribution of aid. Teams are supporting shelters and providing food, water, and family reunification services. Specially trained volunteers are offering comfort and care to those who have suffered emotional trauma.
In addition, the Canadian Red Cross will start distributing financial assistance to people displaced by the wildfire. Adult evacuees registered with Canadian Red Cross will receive $600 each and children will receive $300, so families and individuals can buy what they urgently need during this difficult time. This cash distribution is not reflective of the total assistance Red Cross will give as evacuees rebuild and recover.
The 50 American Red Cross team members traveling to Canada are supplementing Canadian Red Cross relief efforts. They will be working in several functional areas such as cash distribution, case management, sheltering, and mapping.
For more information about the wildfires and find out how to get help, visit redcross.ca.
How to Donate
Canadians wishing to make a financial donation can do so by visiting redcross.ca or calling 1-800-418-1111.
Americans wishing to make a financial donation can do so by visiting redcross.org.