Red Cross has raised $60M for fire evacuees

The large amount of money donated to the Red Cross to help Fort McMurray fire evacuees is eclipsing public support for past Canadian disasters.

CALGARY — The large amount of money donated to the Red Cross to help Fort McMurray fire evacuees is eclipsing public support for past Canadian disasters.

The Canadian Red Cross has already collected $60 million from individuals and corporations. That number doesn’t include additional money coming from Ottawa and the Alberta government, which have both promised to match donations made by individuals.

“I don’t have a breakdown on what the individual number is yet, but we’ve had very good corporate support,” Red Cross spokeswoman Shelly Makrugin said Tuesday.

She said every disaster is different, “so we don’t compare disasters per se.”

But at $60 million and counting, donations have already surpassed the $43.3 million Canadians gave during the catastrophic 2013 southern Alberta floods. More than 100,000 people in several communities, including Calgary and High River, were forced from their homes.

Red Cross donations after the 2013 Lac Megantic rail disaster that killed 47 people and destroyed half the community’s downtown totalled $14.8 million.

The 2011 wildfire that destroyed one-third of Slave Lake, Alta., five years ago brought in $5.5 million.

Makrugin said the Red Cross is in “emergency mode” in the Fort McMurray area. Cash is being used to make sure those affected get basics such as cots, blankets and hygiene kits.

The agency provides help on top of what insurance companies and government programs offer.

“The phase right now is emergency response, which is covering people’s basic needs, and it will also be used for the recovery and the rebuilding phases as well,” she said.

“Needs emerge over time in disasters like this, so all the money we raise is earmarked for people impacted by fires.”

The Red Cross was involved for four years after the Slave Lake fire, which destroyed 400 buildings.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fear of foreign worker shortage impacts veggie production

Innisfail-area grower cut back vegetables that need to be hand picked by one-third

Red Deer singer weathers natural disasters to create an upbeat new tune

Alecia Aichelle says you have to seek out the positives — even under lockdown

Red Deer RCMP looking for missing 49-year-old woman

Red Deer RCMP are looking to verify the well-being of Tracey Church.… Continue reading

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Lethbridge police chief says officers surveilling cabinet minister inexcusable

Alta. — The head of the Lethbridge Police Service in southern Alberta… Continue reading

Sources say Canada, U.S. travel ban likely to continue into late August

WASHINGTON — Canada and the United States are now widely expected to… Continue reading

Manitoba sees first new COVID-19 cases in two weeks

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s 13-day streak without new COVID-19 infections ended Tuesday as… Continue reading

B.C.’s budget surges to $12.5 billion deficit because of pandemic

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s balanced budget has been shattered by the COVID-19… Continue reading

Maxwell denied bail on Epstein-related sex abuse charges

NEW YORK — Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, will remain behind… Continue reading

Monahan, Lindholm, Gaudreau await reunion at Calgary Flames camp

CALGARY — Johnny Gaudreau’s separation from his linemates continued into the second… Continue reading

Trump administration rescinds rule on foreign students

BOSTON — Facing eight federal lawsuits and opposition from hundreds of universities,… Continue reading

Trump signs bill, order rebuking China, and slams Biden

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed legislation and an executive… Continue reading

Most Read