raplh lauren polo Edmonton steps up to help Fort McMurray wildfire evacuees
Busloads of evacuees arrived at the Edmonton Expo Centre throughout the day Wednesday, after the City of Edmonton declared it the official reception centre for residents fleeing wildfires in Fort McMurray.
There were cots assigned to 450 people Wednesday afternoon inside Hall D. Hall A was also being opened.
A forklift operator for Northlands confirmed that an order of 1,000 beds was made around noon. Up to 4,500 people were expected to arrive by the end of the day.
Both halls can hold up to 5,000 people. request from the City of Edmonton. Evacuees began to arrive within an hour of the doors opening.
The number of evacuees expected far exceeded the 300 that arrived at the centre five years ago during the Slave Lake wildfires.
that we can do to help the city of Fort McMurray through this challenging time, it a stressful upheaval, we will do that, Northlands public relations manager Lori Cote said. working directly with the Red Cross so what is needed we do our best to provide until such time that it no longer needed. few people who showed up to donate items of clothing and teddy bears were turned back by security. Northlands and the Red Cross urged people not to bring any donations to the reception centre, directing them instead to Edmonton Emergency Relief Services at 10255 104 St.
At the relief centre, staff were almost overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.
By noon, the office three phone lines were ringing off the hook. There were about 150 volunteers crowded into the agency warehouse, helping to unload and sort boxes and boxes of diapers, shampoo, antiperspirant and tampons, destined for the Expo Centre. The sorters included an eclectic mix of seniors and teenagers, young fire cadets, hipsters and church volunteers, doing their best to keep pace with the constant stream of deliveries. At times, people holding boxes and bins of donations were lined up out the door and down the block.
Volunteer Stephen Tremblett grew up in Fort McMurray and had lots of friends and family there. Five people he knows lost their homes.
of them are at the Noralta camp, he said. got flown out to Calgary, some made it to Edmonton, and some are still stuck on the highway, out of gas. So it complete chaos. Geoffroy, Edmonton Emergency Relief Services spokesman, said they still looking for specific donations. In addition to toiletries, they also collecting pet supplies, water, juice boxes, new wrapped pillowsand new children toys. Geoffroy said they also looking for new clothes things such as plain T shirts and sweatpants which are unisex and can fit people of several different sizes.
But Geoffroy stressed that they not collecting housewares or used clothes or furniture. Right now, she said, the focus has to be on things people need immediately.
The Al Rashid Mosque, Edmonton oldest and largest, also opened its doors to evacuees Tuesday night.
Omar Najmeddine said because the mosque had already done so much work to greet Syrian refugees, it has supplies and a long list of volunteers at hand. They spent all night at the mosque, welcoming exhausted families as they arrived. By midday Wednesday, they had welcomed more than two dozen people and were waiting for a busload Wednesday night.