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Red Cross Continuing to Offer Help Following 2017 Wildfires

Nearly 1 year after devastating wildfires disrupted the lives of British Columbians, the Red Cross says it is proud to continue providing support to individuals, families, and communities.

“Recovering from a disaster of this scope will take years and the Red Cross is committed to helping people for as long as it takes,” says Kimberley Nemrava, Vice-President Canadian Red Cross, British Columbia & Yukon.

“We know the needs emerge over time and some people who have been coping well up until now can face unexpected challenges.”

Financial assistance and clean up kits according to Nemrava was distributed to more than 22,500 households when they were on evacuation or upon return to their community. Assistance has also been provided to more than 2,500 small businesses, not for profits organizations, and First Nation cultural livelihoods through the Red Cross Support to Small Business program.

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As part of the ongoing support, Nemrava says Red Cross will be providing increased support to homeowners who have experienced damage to, or destruction of, their homes through housing repair and reconstruction assistance.

“We will stand with the Red Cross and all British Columbians to help people rebuild now and into the future,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

“As we look to this wildfire season and beyond, Government remains committed to finding additional recovery and support.”

More than $175 million Farnworth says has been invested to support wildfire and flood disaster recovery above and beyond what has been provided to the Red Cross. Some examples he says include $13 million for wildfire rehabilitation on 236,000 hectares of land damaged by wildfire in 2017, an additional $65 million from the forest carbon envelope to support reforestation activities, $70 million towards reforestation of burnt plantations, and more than $7 million through the Agri-recovery program to cover animal feed, private land fencing, and other losses.

Approximately 65,000 people were forced from their homes by the 2017 wildfires that triggered a province-wide state of emergency that lasted more than two months.

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