The Situation Room – Humanitarian support for British Columbia fires desperately needed

Mac Olsen

The news about the forest fires in British Columbia appears to worsen every week.
Earlier this month, Williams Lake residents had to be evacuated and many are staying in Kamloops and other communities.
I’ve talked to several people in Kamloops and they say the sky is just covered in heavy smoke. This makes outdoor activities and every tasks that much more difficult, including for respiratory patients.
The situation was just as bad in the summer of 1998, before I moved back there. Patients had to be evacuated because of heavy smoke that hit there that summer.
We haven’t escaped the smoke issue, as Alberta Health Services issued an air quality warning last week for northern Alberta. You can’t help but notice the smoke here in Peace Country.
The federal and provincial governments have offered their support to B.C.’s plight.
In a news release on July 14, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said an ad hoc committee would be established to find ways to help residents, communities and businesses recover from the fires.
The news release said, in part:
“Our thoughts are with all British Columbians dealing with the devastating impacts of these wildfires. Our new Cabinet committee will work hard to address both the immediate and long-term needs of all the families, communities and businesses affected.”
Premier Rachel Notley offered her own statement on July 17, during a premiers’ meeting in Edmonton:
“Premiers began their annual summer meeting in Edmonton today with an expression of support for the communities in British Columbia coping with the wildfire emergency in that province.
“The Premiers praised the courage and dedication of local citizens and emergency responders in this challenging time of crisis and loss.
“They also recognized the help that firefighting personnel from across the country have been able to offer the BC Wildfire Service in managing the wildfires burning in the province.
“Premiers encourage citizens to make a financial donation to a recognized non-profit organization such as the Canadian Red Cross or Salvation Army to support relief efforts.”
Being that B.C. is my home province, I’m adding my voice to the call for humanitarian relief in the form of financial and material assistance.
I wrote a column last year about the need for humanitarian relief for Fort McMurrary residents, and it’s no less important to do the same for British Columbians.
Various organizations are accepting donations and more information can be found on their websites, including:
. (TD Canada Trust).
Please donate to this needy cause. Organize donation drives, make personal donations, etc.
The people, businesses and communities of British Columbia are counting on us, just as Fort McMurray in 2016 and Slave Lake residents in 2011 did.

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