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  • After the inferno: Reaching out to the people of Fort McMurray.

    After the inferno: Reaching out to the people of Fort McMurray.

    by:
    Anna Guglielmi

    Our hearts go out to the people of Fort McMurray in the aftermath of a devastating wildfire that reduced 2,400 homes and buildings to cinders and displaced almost 90,000 residents.

    All of us at Credit Canada are standing by to help residents of the city manage their finances should trouble arise. Through free financial counselling, we’re ready to assist with fall-out from this tragedy.

    We know that the catastrophe comes at a very bad time. Just two years ago, Fort McMurray was hit by a calamitous drop in oil prices, with terrible repercussions for the local oilfield-service-based economy. Now the city’s been hit again – not by fuel, but by fire.

    Residents tell of just how big the hit is.

    "As we pulled out, we could see the flames reaching our front lawn; we knew we wouldn’t have anything to go back to."

    Take Erica Drecker and her family. She told the media that when the fire reached her neighbourhood, she knew instantly that her “dream home” was going to go up in smoke.

    The flames appeared almost without warning, she said. Suddenly, a tornado-like whorl of orange burst through trees near her yard. Terrified, she realized the family had only minutes to round up the cats and flee the scene by car.

    “As we pulled out of the driveway, we could see the flames reaching our front lawn; we knew we wouldn’t have anything to go back to,” Erica tearfully told The Guardian.

    She added that as the family weaved through streets to make the escape, the city looked like something out of disaster movie. “It was absolutely apocalyptic, there were vehicles stranded everywhere, the sky was black and orange.”

    “One friend has a picture of her house and all that’s standing is her cement foundation and (ironically) her AC unit.”

    Amanda Morrisey tells of similarly shocking losses. With the evacuation of Fort McMurray underway, she and her young son fled by vehicle, finding refuge in an oilfield camp north of town. There, she told Alberta’s CHAT TV News about a conflagration that levelled an entire neighbourhood.

    “A lot of my co-workers lived up in Beacon Hill. Their houses are completely destroyed. One friend has a picture of her house and all that’s standing is her cement foundation and (ironically) her AC unit,” Amanda said.

    The carnage only illustrates that Fort McMurray residents are badly in need of help. 

    Just try to imagine what it’s like to be among the evacuees. They were displaced from their homes practically in a flash, and now they are deeply fearful about what the future holds.

    “The Canadian Red Cross was quick to establish a hub for financial contributions through the Alberta Fires Emergency Appeal.”

    Thousands must be thinking that they face ruin. They have lost homes, cars, and other valued and valuable possessions. Beloved pets have been lost or neglected. Tens of thousands have missed work, paycheques, and payments.

    At a time when many average income earners are only weeks away from a financial crisis in the best of circumstances, it’s not a pretty picture.  

    Fortunately, many of us in Canada are rallying to provide aid.

    The Canadian Red Cross was quick to establish a hub for charitable financial contributions through the Alberta Fires Emergency Appeal. Do your part as a good citizen or organization by donating now. You can also donate $10 dollars when you text the word FIRES to 45678.

    You can contribute in a couple of other ways. One is to text REDCROSS to 30333, and a $5 donation will be added to your wireless bill. The other is to text REDCROSS to 45678, and a $10 donation will be added to your wireless bill.

    Governments have stepped right up to plate, too. Ottawa is joining Alberta to match individual and corporate donations, making the dollars you contribute go twice as far.

    Let’s get to it. 

    Donate to the Alberta Fires Emergency Appeal ►

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