Ottawa

Coronavirus evacuees raising money for Red Cross

Back on Canadian soil after being flown out of China's Hubei province, some of the more than 400 evacuees waiting out their coronavirus quarantine in Trenton, Ont., have decided to show their appreciation by raising money for the Canadian Red Cross.

Evacuees in quarantine in Trenton have raised $18K

From left to right: Clint Cheng, Lucy Li and Chao Lei have been organizing the fundraising effort at Yukon Lodge. (Supplied by Clint Cheng)

Back on Canadian soil after being flown out of China's Hubei province, some of the more than 400 evacuees waiting out their coronavirus quarantine in Trenton, Ont., have decided to show their appreciation by raising money for the Canadian Red Cross.

So far they've raised more than $18,000 online and hope to collect more, said fundraiser co-organizer Clint Cheng.

"Immediately after we landed, we started talking about how we are grateful to be brought to Canada," the Vancouver resident said by phone Thursday evening.

The first chartered plane touched down in Trenton last Friday morning. A second plane, carrying 39 Canadian passengers who hitched a ride on a U.S. government-chartered flight, landed later that afternoon.

A third plane carrying 130 Canadians and 58 accompanying family members arrived in Trenton Monday. 

Ottawa resident Kai Huang gives a tour of the room he and his mother are staying in while under quarantine at Yukon Lodge on CFB Trenton. 0:42

Cheng said the evacuees weren't expected to pay for their flights home. Nor are they paying for room and board at Yukon Lodge, which was originally built for military personnel and their families. 

"We really wish to pay back something," Cheng said. "So many people — from the government workers to the volunteers, the Red Cross, the diplomats — a lot of people have made a lot of effort to bring us back here."

$20K goal

"Hubei province is the centre of the outbreak," said Kai Huang, an Ottawan currently under quarantine. "When we got [news] that we could come back to Canada, [we were] very excited."

According to Cheng, the group only started raising money Thursday morning. 

"But after only five hours, at 3 p.m., we already had over $11,000 donated," he said.

More than 400 Canadians and their families are in quarantine at Yukon Lodge at CFB Trenton. (Mark Gollom/CBC)

Having already surpassed their original goal of $10,000, the group is now aiming to raise at least $20,000 before they leave Trenton.

"I think that's quite possible," Cheng said.

About half of the evacuees have now completed half of their two-week quarantine period.

Wayne Duplessis and his family are quarantined at CFB Trenton after a difficult journey to get out of China. 5:10

About the Author

Joe Tunney reports for CBC News in Ottawa. He can be reached at joe.tunney@cbc.ca

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