Sunny with a Chance of Smiles

Topics: Manitoba, Emergencies and Disasters in Canada, Indigenous Communities
Michelle Palansky | November 01, 2019

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Evacuations are never easy. It is stressful to travel hundreds of kilometres in order to find refuge in a strange city, far from the comforts of home.

A terrible storm hit Manitoba on Oct. 11, 2019. Several days of snow and freezing rain dropped over 125 mm of precipitation in some areas of the province. Because of extended power outages resulting from the storm, more than 10,000 members of First Nation communities in Manitoba had to be evacuated.

The Canadian Red Cross provided evacuees with food, lodging, and necessary personal items. We distributed 1,000 hygiene kits, 809 teddy bears, 1,000 blankets, and 3,117 clean-up kits.

Along with basic physical necessities, the Red Cross safety and wellbeing team supported evacuees by checking in regularly to see if they needed any help and had any issues coping with the situation.

Puppy therapy was also provided.

St. John Ambulance volunteer Rebecca Misko brought her therapy dog Sunny to the RBC Convention Centre, the site of the Red Cross shelter and reception centre for evacuees. Sunny is pictured above with volunteer Wendy Addison. They came to visit on several days and helped make a stressful situation not just bearable but enjoyable and memorable for both volunteers and evacuees at the reception centre.

The evacuation began on Oct. 13, and by Oct. 30 all evacuated members had returned to their communities.