May 2016 saw the largest fire-related evacuation in Alberta’s history, with over 80,000 Fort McMurray residents forced to leave their homes. National and local charities have launched appeals to help meet the immediate needs of evacuees by providing emergency food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities. Going forward, coordinated long-term efforts will be needed to re-build the city. What are the best ways to support these critical efforts?
In early May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that every individual donation made through the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Fires Appeal will be matched by the Canadian government. These funds will be used to meet evacuees’ most immediate needs and to support local community groups and charities as they strengthen the region’s resilience to future emergencies. To date, the appeal has raised over $60 million. Additional donations can be made here. The agency is also encouraging all Fort MacMurray evacuees to register online or call 1-888-350-6070.
Donations can also be made directly to local charities. Fort McMurray United Way is already looking towards the process of rebuilding the community by meeting both short- and long-term needs including housing, food, trauma and mental health supports. Donations to the United Way in Fort McMurray can be made here.