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Red Cross Helping Families Reconnect with James Bay Evacuees

by NationTalk on April 29, 2008541 Views

TORONTO, April 29 – Red Cross disaster management teams are working across northern Ontario and Perth County to assist evacuees from Fort Albany and Kashechewan and the Red Cross would like to advise the public that anyone concerned about the location or well-being of evacuated family members can now send an inquiry through the Red Cross. “One of our key roles in this response was to register evacuees so that we would know who had arrived in each area and where they were staying in order to facilitate contact with family,” says John Saunders, director of disaster management for the Red Cross in Ontario.

The Red Cross has activated its Central Registration Information Bureau (CRIB), which allows those concerned about the whereabouts of family members to register an inquiry with Red Cross volunteers. This is then checked against a central registry and will be forwarded on to the evacuees wherever possible.

“We recognize how stressful an evacuation is on these communities, and one thing we can do to alleviate that is to help families stay in contact,” says Saunders.

The Red Cross has been overwhelmed by the response from residents in the communities receiving evacuees.

“We have had many calls from people wanting to donate or volunteer,” says Saunders. “We do want to emphasize that all costs for this particular evacuation effort are being covered by the Government of Canada.”

Volunteers working on this response have undergone comprehensive training in disaster management and the Red Cross has sufficient resources to meet the current needs; however, anyone interested in volunteering for the Red Cross may contact their local branch to learn about volunteer opportunities and training in their community.

The Canadian Red Cross responds to thousands of disasters each year ranging from house fires to forest fires, flooding and power outages. The organization counts on donations from individuals and corporations to develop and maintain the capacity to respond to emergencies on all scales.

“Donations to the Canadian Disaster Relief Fund help the Red Cross build and maintain our capacity, which includes recruitment and training of volunteers and the purchase and storage of emergency supplies including cots, blankets and response vehicles as well as enabling us to mobilise and respond quickly when disaster strikes,” says Saunders.

The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 186 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

For more information on the Canadian Red Cross, please visit our website at www.redcross.ca.

For further information: Media Contact: Tanya Elliott, Pager: (416) 442-1948

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