Two years after the devastating 2017 B.C. wildfires, the Red Cross continues to assist those who were impacted as they recover.
Last week the Canadian Red Cross released a report on the recovery work taking place in B.C. In 2017 devastating wildfires triggered a province-wide state of emergency that lasted for more than two months and forced approximately 65,000 people from their homes.
The 2017 B.C. Fires Appeal Fund has reached a total of $162.6 million, thanks to the Government of B.C., the Government of Canada, generous Canadians, and donors from around the world. To date, the Red Cross has spent or committed $148 million, which represents more than 90 per cent of the total funds.
The road to recovery is a long process, and emergencies such as the 2017 B.C. wildfires can leave lasting emotional wounds. Red Cross caseworkers continue to provide emotional supports and referrals to external services to assist with the healing process. Red Cross is supporting community organizations with funds that promote community-driven recovery and resiliency, including mental health supports and volunteer appreciation evenings.
The Red Cross continues to work closely with government, local communities, and Indigenous leaders to ensure needs are met, particularly for those who are most vulnerable.
The Canadian Red Cross has been able to provide support in the following ways:
• $74 million allocated ($63.1 million spent and committed to date) to support individuals and families;
• $29.4 million allocated ($25.7 million spent and committed to date) to support community groups; and
• $58 million allocated ($58 million spent and committed to date) to support eligible small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and First Nations cultural livelihoods
The full financial summary as of May 31, 2019 can be found in the 2017 British Columbia Fires Two Year Donor Update at http://bit.ly/2JxapkE.
More than 3,600 households received financial assistance to support their ongoing recovery, and there were 176 community partnerships to support local organizations. More than 3,000 eligible small businesses received financial assistance.
More than 6,400 consultations to provide emotional support for people—both in-person or over the phone—were undertaken, and more than 1,700 households were referred to external mental health and well-being supports. More than 240 outreach visits were made to rural and Indigenous communities throughout B.C.