One month on: Red Cross continues to support needs following Ottawa-Gatineau tornadoes

October 22, 2018

Additional Red Cross financial aid available for impacted residents

One month ago, residents in the Ottawa-Gatineau area were reeling from the impact of tornadoes that swept through the region. Many homes were severely damaged, if not destroyed, neighbourhoods were devastated by widespread destruction, and entire communities were without power for days.

The Canadian Red Cross continues to provide financial aid to residents in need in the Ottawa region and Gatineau. This support may help with a variety of unexpected costs resulting from the disaster, including help with the cost of temporary accommodations, replacing household items, as well as for other urgent and unmet needs for uninsured and insured individuals.

Impacted individuals and families who have not yet registered with the Canadian Red Cross are encouraged to call 1-800-863-6582 or visit for in-person locations and hours.

One month later – by the numbers

Since September 21, the Red Cross has:
  • Registered over 3300 people who have been impacted
  • Helped people in-person at three locations across Ottawa and Gatineau; offering shelter, emotional support, information and referrals, food and clothing
  • Received generous donations from individuals and corporations totalling $4.6 million donations in Quebec (including $3 million from the Quebec government) and $1.2 million donations in Ontario
Disasters affect people in different ways, with needs often emerging over time. The Red Cross is aware of those needs, and helping to meet them through confidential assessments with families and individuals to assist and guide them along their road to recovery, at the pace in which they are ready.

Needs also vary region-to-region, and the Red Cross is leveraging insight from residents registered in both Gatineau and Ottawa to ensure help goes where it is most needed.

Quebec impact and insights
  • 2,112 people registered
  • 131 individuals accommodated in hotels every day on average
  • 14 days of continuous activity at the shelter, accommodating up to 237 people per night
  • 2,424 relief items distributed, including cleaning kits, personal hygiene kits, blankets and teddy bears
  • 45 volunteers mobilized daily
Ottawa impact and insights
  • 377 households (1,209 individuals) in Ottawa have registered with the Red Cross
  • Identified and emerging needs include support for temporary accommodation, mental health services, food and clothing, and debris removal
  • 94 Red Cross volunteers have responded on the ground helping impacted residents

“The damage caused by the tornadoes on September 21 affected so many families. Some of them had little to no personal resources, but help got sorted out quickly. With support from the government of Quebec as well as generous contributions from our donors and partners, the Red Cross was able to offer all the help that was needed in this crisis. We are still in Gatineau and we will continue to be present, as evidenced by the new phase of financial aid now being distributed.”  
“We know that recovery from a disaster like this does not happen overnight. It can have a profound impact on the lives of the people affected, both immediately after and also months down the road. The Red Cross is committed to helping Ontarians in need as a result of this disaster, now and as they continue to recover.”  

Canadians can help the people impacted by the tornadoes through making a financial donation to the Canadian Red Cross in one of the following ways:  
Canadian Red Cross financial assistance is based on unmet needs, not loss, and is provided on a case-by-case basis. The assistance will not duplicate existing support either at the provincial or municipal levels, or through insurance.
Visual Media Assets: photos and video of the Ottawa-Gatineau tornado response for media use can be found online at our media centre or requested directly from our media team.
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About the Canadian Red Cross

Here in Canada and overseas, the Red Cross stands ready to help people before, during and after a disaster. As a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – which is made up of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 190 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies – the Canadian Red Cross is dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and throughout the world.
  • English Media Line: 1-877-599-9602
  • French Media Line: 1-888-418-9111