Canadian Red Cross helped provide relief and assistance to thousands: one year after northern Alberta wildfires

Topics: Alberta, Emergencies and Disasters in Canada
May 11, 2012


Red Cross continues to focus on community development and recovery.

(Slave Lake, AB) – One year following wildfires that devastated northern and central Alberta including the town of Slave Lake, the region is firmly on the path to recover from the largest disaster in Alberta’s history.

“Donations to the Canadian Red Cross have helped thousands of residents immediately after the disaster and well into the recovery phase,” said Steve Armstrong, Alberta Provincial Director, Canadian Red Cross. “More than 16,000 individuals registered for support from the Red Cross and we mobilized more than 360 volunteers and staff to help. Support was provided through shelter, food, clothing, school and work supplies, rent payments, advocacy and psychological support. The Red Cross is now helping those affected by the fire look into the future.”

Donations received by the Red Cross for the Northern Alberta Wildfire fund total $5.5 million to date. All donations have gone directly to support the Northern Alberta Wildfires relief and recovery operation. They include:

  • $770,000 in direct aid for food, clothes, household goods, school supplies, occupational supplies, rent, utilities, mortgage payments, damage deposits, and more
  • $2 million for community development projects
  • $400,000 for rent and improvements for Slave Lake interim library
  • $529,000 for staff and volunteers 
  • $229,000 for Red Cross Slave Lake office and facility
  • $815,000 for transportation and housing of aid workers
  • $800,000 to support ongoing recovery operations of the Red Cross in Slave Lake.

“We recognize the invaluable contribution that residents, community partners, neighbouring towns, municipalities and cities have played in rebuilding homes and lives,” said Armstrong. “The amazing initial response and progress over the past year can be attributed to communities pulling together and people looking out for one another. While recovery is a long road, residents have made an outstanding comeback and we know they will be stronger, and more prepared to deal with future obstacles as they arise.”

To continue fostering a strong community, Red Cross is working with partners to address health and safety concerns and better prepare for future emergencies. The recently launched Northern Alberta Wildfires Community Projects Fund will provide funding to groups in communities impacted by the wildfires and subsequent flooding. A committee of volunteers comprised of members from the community will manage the fund and use set criteria in selecting proposed projects.

The Canadian Red Cross also continues to provide support and recovery assistance to individuals and families who have been directly affected by the wildfires. Those individuals who are experiencing financial or psychological hardship due to the wildfire are encouraged to contact the Red Cross in Slave Lake at 780-805-8470 to set up an appointment with a caseworker.

More information on Red Cross relief and recovery efforts in northern Alberta can be found in the Northern Alberta Wildfires One-Year Community Update Report.

The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 187 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

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