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Red Deer reception centre reaches capacity

Red Deer’s reception centre for people who were evacuated from their homes in the Northwest Territories due to ongoing wildfires has reached capacity.
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A reception centre for evacuees from the Northwest Territories is stationed inside Red Deer’s G.H. Dawe Community Centre. The centre reached its 1,000-person capacity on Thursday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Red Deer’s reception centre for people who were evacuated from their homes in the Northwest Territories due to ongoing wildfires has reached capacity.

On Thursday, the City of Red Deer announced 1,000 evacuees have registered at the centre inside of the G.H. Dawe Community Centre. This means, the site is no longer registering new evacuees.

Assistance will continue to be provided to those already registered until Sept. 5. Services offered at the reception centre include providing meal and accommodation vouchers, pet supports through the Central Alberta Humane Society, medical support, free recreation and transit passes, and other personal services.

“The City remains committed to supporting evacuees from the Northwest Territories who have registered with us since August 17,” said Carol Lind, emergency management co-ordinator.

“Even though we are at capacity, existing evacuees will continue to receive a high standard of care while the evacuation order remains in effect for The City of Yellowknife.” Existing evacuees in Red Deer who have not received updated meal and accommodation vouchers that are valid until September 5, are asked to return to the Reception Centre.

The centre, which originally opened last Thursday, remains open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Effective this Saturday, hours of operation will shift to 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Evacuees looking for other reception centres, can look up current availability through the Province of Alberta: www.alberta.ca/northwest-territories-wildfire-evacuation#reception-centres.

The City of Red Deer is thanking the community for its generosity and outpouring of support. Information on how to donate can be found at reddeer.ca/whats-happening/nwt-evacuees/information-for-red-deer-residents.

More than two-thirds of the 45,000-plus residents who call the Northwest Territories home are living in evacuation centres and hotels as far away as Calgary and Winnipeg. They left by plane or by driving hundreds of kilometres to safety.

The 20,000 residents of Yellowknife were ordered out a week ago while other communities were evacuated before that.

—With files from The Canadian Press



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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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