Nova Scotia

Fort McMurray fire relief gets 'unprecedented' donations from Atlantic Canadians

More Canadian Red Cross workers from the Atlantic region are heading to Alberta in the wake of the Fort McMurray wildfire, while an "unprecedented" amount of donations continues to pour in from the eastern provinces.

17 Canadian Red Cross volunteers, employees sent to help from eastern provinces

Volunteers load water for evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfires at the evacuation centre in Lac la Biche, Alta. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

More Canadian Red Cross workers from the Atlantic region are heading to Alberta in the wake of the Fort McMurray wildfire, while an "unprecedented" amount of donations continues to pour in from the eastern provinces.

"There's not a doubt in my mind that Atlantic Canadians will be among the most generous donors per capita in this campaign," said Dan Bedell, a spokesperson for the organization.

Bedell said it could be months before the Canadian Red Cross knows the amount of donations per province, due to all the ways the money is coming in.

'Exceeding' expectations

More than 100 volunteers in the Atlantic region continue to answer the flood of calls from people wanting to donate.

"It exceeds anything I've seen in 10 years with the Red Cross," said Bedell. "I have every expectation that we will be well above our belt in terms of donations coming from across the country."

The region has sent 14 Red Cross volunteers and three staff to provide relief at the Alberta evacuation centres, which are an around-the-clock operation.

Teams go west

Each volunteer is expected to stay in Alberta for about three weeks.

With no exact timeline in place for evacuees to return to Fort McMurray, Bedell expects at least one more wave of workers to head west to help with relief efforts.

Across Canada, $67 million has so far been donated to the Red Cross to help those affected by the disaster. That doesn't include money the federal government has pledged to match.

More to come

It also doesn't include proceeds from several fundraisers that have been planned in the Atlantic region in the coming days.

The Red Cross announced Wednesday it will give each registered adult $600 as well as $300 for each child to help with some immediate financial pressures the evacuees are facing.

About the Author

Carolyn Ray

Videojournalist

Carolyn Ray is a videojournalist who has reported out of three provinces and two territories, and is now based in Halifax. You can reach her at Carolyn.Ray@cbc.ca