Thousands of evacuees have been cleared to return to their home communities but the work of the Red Cross is not over yet.
“We’re at a point in the response where we need to quickly shift efforts as evacuation orders are lifted so things are moving very, very quickly,” explained Cindy Fuchs, provincial director of the Red Cross in Saskatchewan. “We anticipate that many more communities over the next few days will also have their evacuation orders lifted and will also be happy and returning home.”
Until that time, 300 trained Red Cross volunteers are providing support services to thousands of evacuees on behalf of the Saskatchewan Government.
As of Thursday evening, there were a total of 8,700 evacuees registered with the Red Cross. The numbers are changing quickly as many evacuees start to head home in their own vehicles.
“People returning to a community that was evacuated will be provided with ground transportation in the form of buses or we will and have been providing gas cards for those who are returning in their own vehicles,” said Fuchs.
Partner organizations have also helped provide food and water for the return trip home. Fuchs says evacuees can also take whatever supplies they have already been given in the shelters.
“Sometimes if we have enough in the location we are providing teddy bears for small children and we did do that in Regina,” Fuchs said. “That was kind of cool because that was sort of a parting gift for the children and they grabbed on to them quite quickly.”
— Adriana Christianson (@AdrianaC_JME) July 15, 2015
Some entertainment for evacuees is starting to wind down, but there are still some activities continuing on a smaller scale. As an example, 200 evacuees and Red Cross volunteers got free tickets to the Roughrider home game at Mosaic Stadium on Friday night .
“As we heard last game, evacuees – that’s sometimes their dream to watch a game in person so they’re getting that opportunity.”
In the coming weeks Red Cross volunteers will also have to clean up the shelters and wind down operations. Fuchs also noted that the organization is always recruiting volunteers to be trained and ready to help the next time a disaster strikes.
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