Smoke from the Elephant Hill fire billows up behind private residences located near the southwest end of Sheridan Lake on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 2, 2017. File photo by Aaron Taylor.

Recovery from 2017 B.C. wildfires will ‘take years’

Nearly a year later, the Canadian Red Cross and BC Government reflect on the 2017 wildfires

Nearly one year after devastating wildfires broke out across the province, British Columbians continue to recover with the assistance of the Canadian Red Cross.

The Red Cross, working with the provincial and federal governments, has spent or committed $119.3 million over the last year —a number that represents nearly 74 per cent of the total $162.2 million B.C. Fires Appeal Fund.

  • $90 million allocated; ($62.1 million spent and committed to date) to support individuals and families
  • $29.1 million allocated; ($15.5 million spent and committed to date) to support community groups
  • $41.9 million allocated; ($40.5 million spent and committed to date) to support eligible small business, not-for-profit organizations, and First Nations cultural livelihoods.

The B.C. Fires Appeal Fund was built via $100 million from the provincial government, $38.6 million from federal government and $23.6 million directly from Canadians’ donations.

The 2017 wildfires triggered a 10-week provincewide state of emergency and forced the evacuation of about 65,000 people from their homes.

In total, an area twice the size of Prince Edward Island was scorched in the unprecedented year of B.C. wildfires.

“Providing support for all those affected was and is a massive undertaking,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

“A lot of the issues after a disaster don’t manifest themselves immediately, the Red Cross is here for the long term, as is the province. Going forward, we know many British Columbians have a long road ahead of them and the work is not over.

“We will stand with the Red Cross and all British Columbians to help people rebuild now and into the future.”

While a year has passed since the fires sparked, there is still much work to be done.

According to the Red Cross, case workers continue to meet with individuals and families who are struggling with unmet needs due to the wildfires. The Red Cross states that needs emerge over time and at this stage in recovery those who may have been coping well until now can face unexpected challenges.

“Recovery from a disaster of this scope will take years,” said Kimberley Nemrava, vice president Canadian Red Cross, British Columbia & Yukon.

“The fires were traumatic for many, but in a true reflection of the strength and resilience of the people in the affected areas recovery is well underway.”

Related: B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

Related:2017 now worst wildfire season in B.C.

People still needing help are encouraged to reach out to the Red Cross, even if it is for the first time. Those interested can call 1-800-863-6582 for a confidential appointment for you and your family

The Canadian Red Cross has provided support in the following ways:

  • 66,500+ distributions of financial assistance to impacted individuals and families to help during their evacuation and as they recover.
  • Support for 22,500+ households as they returned home with help such as financial assistance and clean-up kits.
  • 94 community partnerships to support local organizations.
  • 2,500+ eligible small businesses received financial assistance.
  • 7,700+ meetings with individuals and families needing ongoing help to recover (both in person and over the phone).
  • 5,500+ consultations to provide emotional support for people both in-person or over the phone.
  • 1,200+ households referred to external mental health and well-being supports.
  • 220+ outreach visits to rural and Indigenous communities.

Red Cross by Anonymous xWYSmS on Scribd

B.C. Fires appointment line: 1-800-863-6582.

B.C. Fires website: http://www.redcross.ca/bcfires2017

Red Cross donor inquiries: WeCare@redcross.ca or 1-800-418-1111

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@carmenweld
carmen.weld@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

More ‘Messiah’ in Surrey: City’s new orchestra twice performs Handel’s classic

First Fleetwood Christian Reformed Church, then the Bell theatre with Vancouver Bach Choir

Mariners, Orcas win Fraser Valley volleyball championships

South Surrey senior teams to head to provincial championships next week

A ‘Peter Pan’-to opens in Surrey this week, and tickets are being snapped up

Show at Surrey Arts Centre is produced by FVGSS, A Musical Theatre Company

Threatened frog re-discovered in Delta Nature Reserve

The Burns Bog Conservation Society is asking residents to report sightings of the red-legged frog

White Rock pier light show

Dancing lights highlighted off the water front

Shots fired near Chicago hospital, multiple victims: police

Police say at least one possible offender has been shot

B.C. to allow ride hailing services to operate in 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Burnaby woman’s car crash death now considered a homicide

Nicole Hasselmann, 34, was killed and a man was sent to hospital after the crash

Chocolate lab missing along Coquihalla

Brad Gibson is asking for help locating his missing dog.

B.C. connection to launch of new $10 bill

Great nephew of Viola Desmond says bill is a ‘step in the right direction’

Elections BC keeps eye on Canada Post dispute, but no change in Nov. 30 deadline

Vote No spokesman say an extension of one or two weeks would ensure all ballots are counted

Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

School district promises consultation with students and parents, defends using flag for war history

Most Read

l -->