Red Cross helps displaced residents of Amherst find shelter after fire

Topics: Nova Scotia, Emergencies and Disasters in Canada
September 11, 2012

Red Cross helps displaced residents of Amherst find shelter after fire

A devastating fire on August 26 that began in an apartment complex in Amherst, Nova Scotia, has left nearly 40 people homeless and the community reeling.

Due to strong winds, the fire - which began in the four-story building around 10 p.m. - burned throughout the evening and spread to the Black Block building nearby. The Amherst police department and popular haunts like Dooly's pool hall were also affected by the flames.

"There was some hope early on that people, some of them, might have been able to go back to the [apartment] building, but clearly that is no longer an option," Dan Bedell, a spokesman for the Canadian Red Cross, told CBC News.

Since the disaster struck, the Canadian Red Cross has been on-hand to assist those who have lost their homes. A temporary shelter was established at the Amherst Lion's Club to help residents impacted by the inferno.

When it comes to natural disasters and emergency response within the country, the Canadian Red Cross is always ready to help those in need.

Each year, the organization responds to 2,000 emergencies in the Atlantic region and helps those who have been displaced as a result of tornados, floods, fires and other major incidents rebuild their lives and reconnect with family members due to a disaster.

In addition to establishing safe and temporary locations where people can receive food, shelter, clothing and other means of assistance, the Red Cross may be asked by a municipality to open a reception centre in a disaster-stricken community to coordinate service provisions where the town may be unable to do so.

These integral sites can help vulnerable individuals gain vital information about what comes next and what options or referrals the Red Cross may be able to give that will allow them to move forward.

Emergencies can happen when people least expect them, causing chaos and disruption within a community. This can have terrifying consequences, forcing families to become separated in the general confusion. The Red Cross can be an excellent resource during this time, working diligently to ensure that loved ones are reunited and able to pick up the pieces left from the disaster together.

These services can make all the difference in the world for individuals impacted by natural disasters, but without the generous support of Canadian donors, vulnerable people may not be able to take advantage of their benefits or opportunities.

To give hope to those affected by a major disaster like what occurred in Amherst and show your continued support for the Red Cross' emergency relief efforts, you can donate online or at your local Red Cross office today! (http://www.redcross.ca/donate.asp)