The Red Cross says it expects it will be helping people in southern Alberta for two more years as they recover from last year's devastating floods.
At a news conference on Tuesday, the relief agency said people across Canada and the United States donated $42 million to help people in 27 Alberta communities recover from the 2013 flood, which it called the biggest disaster effort it has made in Canada since the Second World War.
The director general of disaster management, John Byrne, told reporters in Calgary the Red Cross will be helping Albertans for the long haul.
"We are anticipating that recovery work will continue for at least another two years," Byrne said. "I would say that we will still have sufficient funds to make a very meaningful contribution in all four of the areas that comprise our successful response."
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To date, $21 million in direct assistance has gone to individuals and families, helping more than 70,000 people. An additional $5 million has gone towards shelter, home clean-up and repair and rehabilitation. The agency has also doled out $1.5 million to community initiatives and small businesses.
Craig Snodgrass, the mayor of hard-hit High River, said the Red Cross — with its money, its experience and people — has made a huge difference in his town, and he said he was pleased to hear it's planning to remain in place for another two years helping those who need it.
"This is very foreign to us in Canada … to need the Red Cross," Snodgrass said. "But it's here, so you have to step forward if you need it, and you have to go in and talk to these people."
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In coming months, the Red Cross said, it will be spending the remaining $14.5 million it has to fund things such as repairing and rebuilding houses; providing support to community, youth and seniors' groups; and providing grants to help small business owners get back on their feet.