Teksmed – Help for the residents of Fort McMurray
No matter where you live in Canada, you couldn’t help but be affected by the news and images of the wildfires sweeping across Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan. Images taken from space showed the smoke reaching all the way to the east coast. In particular, we were all deeply moved by the devastation that took place in Fort McMurray as residents were evacuated – having to leave their homes – maybe for the last time.
According to some of the latest estimates, the fire covered 522,443 hectares of Alberta and another 2496 hectares into Saskatchewan. Although the graphic images and dramatic rescue stories are not sweeping across social media as they did only a few weeks ago, fires are still raging throughout the provinces.
The good news is that with the help of cooler temperatures and rainfall, firefighters are now holding back the blaze. In total, there are 1880 firefighters with 104 helicopters and 29 air tankers working tirelessly to put out the fires.
Mandatory evacuation orders at the oil sands have now been lifted, and residents of Fort McMurray are expected to be able to start returning home on June 1 on a phased-in basis.
In true Canadian fashion, individuals and businesses stepped up to support the 80,000 plus evacuees of Fort McMurray and others affected by the Alberta fires. According the Red Cross website, donations exceeded $50 million.
They came from all sources – from large corporations to children with lemonade stands.
Funding donated to the Red Cross is being used for direct distribution to evacuees, family reunification, food and shelter as well as other basic immediate needs such as water and hygiene kits.
While the fires are now being held back and on their way to being extinguished, there is much to be done in Fort McMurray and surrounding areas in the coming months.
For now, a boil water advisory is in effect as is an air quality advisory. Employees of Atco are working to restore gas and electricity services to undamaged parts of the city.
As residents start to return to smoke damaged homes and businesses, access to financial assistance and temporary housing will be available through Alberta Works.
The fires finally started to die down, but help is still greatly needed. At Teksmed, we are proud to support the Emergency Relief efforts of the Red Cross, and we encourage our friends, family members, clients and members of the community to do the same. Remember that donations made to the Red Cross before May 31st, will be matched by the federal government. Together, we can help the residents of Fort McMurray rebuild their lives.