Posted on Jun 1, 2016
The month of May was unprecedented for our province. As massive wildfires grew in Fort McMurray and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo over 88,000 Albertans evacuated from their homes. As I write this in mid-May, communities are not yet ready to return home. The focus is shifting from emergency to re-entry and rehabilitation when it is safe to do so.
As we witnessed during the Slave Lake wildfires and 2013 Southern Alberta floods – in times of emergency Albertans have each other’s backs. I want to thank the many constituents who have reached out to our office to find out how they can help their neighbors in Northern Alberta. Calgary stands with Fort McMurray. In partnership with the Red Cross, every donation made in support of Fort McMurray evacuees will be matched by the Province and Federal government. Individuals who are looking to support evacuees can contact the Red Cross directly at 1-888-350-6070, or the charitable organization of their choice.
What we witnessed during the Calgary floods was that supporting one another during a devastating event is critical – but it is the support after an event, as we come together and rebuild, that makes all the difference. As we move out of emergency and into recovery phase the complex needs of families and communities will be assessed and solutions will come from the community-level. Government and partners will be working with groups such as the United Way of Alberta to develop recovery and resiliency plans to rebuild communities.
During this unprecedented time of need, we have all been inspired by the tireless and brave work of first-responders and our Armed Forces. The team work exhibited by our RCMP and provincial law enforcement has been outstanding. Neighbors and kind strangers alike are what make this province so strong. Faced with another natural disaster, donation centres saw such a high-volume of willing volunteer they were forced to turn some away. In times of crisis, Albertans live up to our reputation as hard working, empathetic and community-minded people. Alberta is strongest when we support one another.
As this situation continues to develop, the most up to date information is available at: www.alberta.ca/emergency, or you can call the Alberta Government directly at: 310-4455.