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Apr29WedProviding emergency relief during a global pandemic. April 29, 2020 By Linda Leigh
(Above) Flooding is displacing more than 13,000 residents in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
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The four-year anniversary of the Fort McMurray, Alta., wildfire is days away and, yet again, thousands of residents of the entire lower townsite are under a mandatory evacuation. Flooding and rising river levels caused by ice jams has threatened homes and businesses in the heart of the community’s downtown.
“Due to the fact that it is just short of four years since the community of Fort McMurray was evacuated to escape the ravages of wildfires, upwards of 13,000 residents of the northern Alberta community are once again being evacuated,” says Major Al Hoeft, spokesperson for The Salvation Army. “The flood waters, as of Tuesday morning, have not crested so more challenges lay ahead. In addition, the evacuation process is further complicated by the current COVID-19 pandemic and the physical distancing requirements associated with it.”
The Salvation Army in Fort McMurray, such a vital component of the community’s response during the 2016 wildfires, is back on the front lines supporting their neighbours and bringing hope and comfort to many. They are currently providing sandwiches and beverages to those registering at the Discovery Centre, as well as important emotional and spiritual care to so many who are understandably overwhelmed with the prospect of being evacuated from their homes again. In addition, The Salvation Army has had to relocate its emergency shelter operation to their church building when the existing shelter was placed under an evacuation order on Monday. Forty shelter residents and staff are currently transforming the church facilities into a temporary shelter and feeding operation.
“Dealing with this natural disaster at the same time as the coronavirus, is significantly adding to the stress and challenges people are already facing,” says Hoeft. “Please keep the people of Fort McMurray, first responders, volunteers and Salvation Army personnel in your prayers as they continue to support where the need is greatest.”
To donate to The Salvation Army's response efforts in Fort McMurray, click here.