Fort McMurray campaign largest in Canadian Red Cross history
More than $102 million has been raised so far to help thousands of residents forced to flee wildfires
The Canadian Red Cross relief campaign for Fort McMurray has broken all previous records, raising $102 million to help thousands of people forced from their homes by wildfires.
"It truly is unprecedented," said Jennifer McManus, vice-president for the Red Cross in Alberta. "This now will be our largest domestic appeal in the history of our organization."
McManus told CBC News on Tuesday the appeal broke another record by already distributing $50 million to evacuees, the fastest so much money has ever been handed out.
The appeal has been an international effort, she said, and money has come in from all over the world.
Canadians see what happened in Fort McMurray as a national disaster, McManus said, perhaps because so many people who live there come from different parts of the country.
Harrowing videos and images of the fires, and dramatic and heartbreaking news stories published about the disaster touched people all over the world, McManus said.
Both the federal and provincial governments have committed to matching the Red Cross funds raised before May 31, McManus said. So in the end, more than $300 million could be available to help more than 90,000 people who fled the city on May 3.
More than 80,000 evacuees have registered with the Red Cross, and McManus said the organization's relief work in the Fort McMurray region will likely go on for years.
Before the wildfires, the largest Canadian Red Cross campaign was the money raised for the southern Alberta floods in 2013.