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Canadian Red Cross -

Red Cross is very grateful that we could help people and thousands more because one million Canadians rallied from coast to coast to donate after the wildfires. Canadians gave $185 million, which was matched with $104 million from the Government of Canada and $30 million from the Government of Alberta. To date, the Red Cross has already spent $178 million of this total, primarily to assist families and individuals, as well as small businesses and community groups. And we will continue to help people in need.

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Fort Mac says thanks to Canada for sup­port

Fort McMur­ray, Alta. is ex­press­ing its thanks to Canada with a spe­cial video. The Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Wood Buf­falo posted a video on its Face­book page ex­press­ing the grat­i­tude res­i­dents have for the sup­port they re­ceived in the spring when a mas­sive wild­fire forced ev­ery­one to flee the city for weeks. The video be­gins with scenes of smoke and flames, along with ac­counts from res­i­dents about what they went through as they left. It then shifts to talk of the re­build­ing ef­fort, as well as the help that came from the rest of Canada. The post asks res­i­dents to share the video to ex­press their own thanks. It asks neigh­bours else­where in Canada to share the video so that oth­ers can hear the mes­sage of ap­pre­ci­a­tion. “Thanks­giv­ing is a time to re­flect on what we are thank­ful for, and this week­end we are thank­ful for the sup­port of Cana­di­ans. Your thoughts, prayers, do­na­tions, vol­un­teer hours, hand-made gifts, ship­ments of sup­plies and kind words are a con­stant re­minder of the care the res­i­dents of Wood Buf­falo re­ceived in their time of need,” the post states. The fire in May forced 80,000 peo­ple out of the north­east­ern Al­berta city for a month and de­stroyed 10 per cent of its struc­tures. In Au­gust, the Cana­dian Red Cross said $299 mil­lion had been raised to help with re­cov­ery from the Fort McMur­ray wild­fire. Red Cross CEO Con­rad Sauve said that in­cluded $165 mil­lion do­nated by Cana­di­ans to the char­ity. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment con­trib­uted $104 mil­lion to match funds do­nated made by in­di­vid­ual Cana­di­ans and the prov­ince matched $30 mil­lion given by in­di­vid­ual Al­ber­tans.

Haitians get­ting lost in the news

The much greater im­pact of the 2010 Haiti earthquake com­bined with it oc­cur­ring in a some­what slower in­ter­na­tional news cy­cle gave it much greater hu­man­i­tar­ian at­ten­tion. Hur­ri­cane Matthew hit sec­tions of this prov­ince and parts of the south­east­ern United States pretty hard. How­ever, it hit the Caribbean na­tion of Haiti much harder. Matthew was at its peak when it hit Haiti, a de­vel­op­ing na­tion that is more vul­ner­a­ble to the dev­as­tat­ing im­pact of a mas­sive hur­ri­cane. Ac­cord­ing to the Pan Amer­i­can Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, ap­prox­i­mately “900 peo­ple are dead, 62,000 peo­ple are home­less and out­breaks of cholera are rapidly es­ca­lat­ing in Haiti.” Food is scarce in Haiti af­ter the hur­ri­cane, and cholera rates are ex­pected to rapidly es­ca­late and claim many more lives. Flood­ing caused by the hur­ri­cane is mix­ing with sewage and wa­ter sup­plies, mak­ing ac­cess to fresh wa­ter a ma­jor prob­lem in Haiti. Sadly, this cur­rent hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis in Haiti is re­ceiv­ing lit­tle at­ten­tion in con­trast to the mon­u­men­tal at­ten­tion the 2010 Haiti earthquake re­ceived, which re­sulted in the deaths of ap­prox­i­mately 230,000 Haitians. The much greater im­pact of the 2010 Haiti earthquake com­bined with it oc­cur­ring in a some­what slower in­ter­na­tional news cy­cle gave it much greater hu­man­i­tar­ian at­ten­tion. The hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis in Haiti is be­ing mostly ig­nored be­cause the in­ter­na­tional news is cur­rently dom­i­nated by the U.S. pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and the ter­ri­ble civil war in Syria, as well as the petty pol­i­tics that are be­ing played in the UN per­ti­nent to its power strug­gle. Ac­cord­ing to Cana­dian Red Cross spokesman Nathan Hu­cu­laka, “$190 mil­lion out of the $222 mil­lion do­nated by Cana­di­ans for the 2010 Haiti earthquake has been spent on hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance. Nine­teen thou­sand fam­i­lies of about 95,000 peo­ple were pro­vided with safe shel­ter, and 75,000 new per­ma­nent homes were con­structed through as­sis­tance from Cana­dian donors.” Hur­ri­cane Matthew has left many parts of Haiti in ru­ins and hun­dreds of thou­sands of Haitians are fac­ing dev­as­ta­tion, dis­ease and death. A fundrais­ing ef­fort sim­i­lar to the 2010 cam­paign is im­per­a­tive to slow down the es­ca­lat­ing rates of food short­ages, home­less­ness, cholera and death. John Ryall Mount Pearl

Fort McMurray dis­as­ter re­lief fund hits $299M

FORT MCMURRAY The Cana­dian Red Cross says $299 mil­lion has been raised to help with re­cov­ery from the Fort McMurray wild­fire, with some money ear­marked for peo­ple who can’t make their mort­gage pay­ments or didn’t have enough in­sur­ance. Red Cross CEO Con­rad Sauve said this “un­prece­dented out­pour­ing of sup­port” in­cluded $165 mil­lion do­nated by Cana­di­ans to the char­ity. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment con­trib­uted $104 mil­lion to match funds do­nated made by in­di­vid­ual Cana­di­ans and the prov­ince matched $30 mil­lion given by in­di­vid­ual Al­ber­tans. “Cana­di­ans were touched by see­ing fel­low Cana­di­ans be­ing evac­u­ated and the fire and re­sponded tremen­dously,” Sauve said Wed­nes­day. “We have got do­na­tions from ev­ery part of the coun­try.” The to­tal far ex­ceeds the $45 mil­lion peo­ple do­nated in 2013 for the catastrophic floods in south­ern Al­berta and $14.8 mil­lion for the rail dis­as­ter in Lac Me­gan­tic, Que. On May 3 the mas­sive wild­fire fire forced the evac­u­a­tion of al­most 90,000 peo­ple from the Fort McMurray area. The flames de­stroyed 2,400 homes and build­ings, caused the shut­down of two key oil­sands fa­cil­i­ties and burned al­most 5,900 square kilo­me­tres of for­est. Since early June, res­i­dents have been re­turn­ing to the com­mu­nity to as­sess the dam­age and re­build. Sauve said that to date, al­most $200 mil­lion has been al­lo­cated for the peo­ple of Fort McMurray, in­clud­ing di­rect cash pay­ments to res­i­dents of $84.4 mil­lion. There will be fur­ther help for res­i­dents who were unin­sured or didn’t have enough in­sur­ance to cover their losses. Money will be avail­able to help peo­ple re­build their homes, make rent or mort­gage pay­ments and to re­place fur­ni­ture, ap­pli­ances and house­hold goods. “The Red Cross — we don’t pass a judg­ment on why peo­ple need help,” Sauve said. “We help those in need — that is the hu­man­i­tar­ian im­per­a­tive of what we do.” An­other $50 mil­lion will be given to char­i­ties, in­clud­ing food banks, which have been help­ing to feed peo­ple in Fort McMurray and res­i­dents who fled to other com­mu­ni­ties in Al­berta. About $30 mil­lion is be­ing set aside to help small busi­nesses re­cover and $12 mil­lion will be spent on com­mu­nity re­siliency and fire preven­tion. Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Danielle Lar­avee said de­tails on how this money will be spent will be re­leased in the com­ing weeks. An or­ga­ni­za­tion that keeps tabs on how char­i­ties spend do­na­tions praised the Red Cross for its han­dling of the Fort McMurray dis­as­ter. Greg Thomson of Char­ity In­tel­li­gence Canada said the Red Cross has been open about its spend­ing and has moved quickly to get money to peo­ple who need it. Thomson said in the first three months since the wild­fire the char­ity has al­lo­cated just over half of the do­na­tions — more quickly than the Al­berta floods and Lac Me­gan­tic. “We are quite pleased with the way the Red Cross has han­dled this sig­nif­i­cant amount of do­na­tions,” Thomson said from Toronto. The Red Cross said it typ­i­cally is­sues donor re­ports fol­low­ing a ma­jor fundrais­ing ap­peal at the onemonth, three-month, six-month, one-year, two-year and three-year mark on how money has been al­lo­cated and spent. The char­ity said it also posts au­dited fi­nan­cial state­ments for ma­jor fund­ing ap­peals such as the Al­berta wild­fire on its web­site. The Red Cross — we don’t pass a judg­ment on why peo­ple need help. We help those in need — that is the hu­man­i­tar­ian im­per­a­tive of what we do.

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