The Canadian Red Cross actively continues to provide support to individuals, families and small businesses.

Red Cross BC/Yukon Division, Vice-President Kim Nemrava provided a presentation regarding the 2017 wildfires at Friday’s Cariboo Regional District board meeting.

Nearly 2,500 small businesses to date have received $1,500 through Phase I of the Support to Small Business Program.

“We’re in the second phase of the more extensive support,” said Nemrava adding that another phase they have done in prior disasters is around small business training.

“We’re already working very closely with Community Futures and other organizations to map out what this could look like.”

Red Cross according to Nemrava is also looking at their home repair and reconstruction program modeling it after what was done in Fort McMurray and how that can be rolled out in BC.

Almost 200 applications have already received approval for up to $18,500 through Phase II of the Support to Small Business Program.

Red Cross has also provided financial assistance more than 61,000 times to individuals and families.

“It was extremely complicated to provide the cash assistance for this particular evacuation, and quite frankly I know the frustrations, we share the frustrations because our only goal is to get assistance out to eligible people,” said Nemrava noting there were 160 evacuation orders.

“What we have to do for each of those evacuation orders to determine who’s eligible is draw what’s called a polygon on a map and then determine all their addresses within that map. Becuase there were 160 evacuations orders there were over 1,120 polygons that had to be reconciled between our database and that’s because we had the initial $600, five instances of the potential recurring $600, and the re-entry $300.”

Nemrava said that this was the first time that any government had asked them to do that number of financial assistance.

“We just did our┬ávery best to do it, but certainly complications and frustrations. We are already working with Emergency Management BC on improving our system.”