It was the biggest emergency evacuation and possibly the most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history.
 
It was May, 2016 when more than 80,000 residents of Fort McMurray were forced out of the northern Alberta city by a forest fire that roared into town, destroying a number of neighborhoods.
 
Jennifer McManus is Vice-President of Disaster Management for the Red Cross in Alberta.
 
"We had close to 90,000 people register with the Canadian Red Cross and that allows us to communicate with them, provide financial assistance, to help them in the re-entry back into their home community, financial assistance once they returned home, their transportation to get home and now we're doing the one on one consultation with families and individuals," she informed 99.5 Drum FM.
 
To date, the Red Cross has spent $178 million to directly assist those impacted by the fires. The vast majority will go to individuals and families, while community groups and eligible small businesses will share a smaller sum.
 
"The grand total of the appeal to date is $319 million raised, $185 million with the generosity of Albertans and Canadians and then the matching funds from the Government of Canada at $104 million and the Government of Alberta at $30 million," she added.
 
Other fast facts and figures: 58,757 - the number of households that received financial assistance; 9,000 - the number of families who received housing assistance; 3,296 - the number of small businesses that received emergency financial assistance; 7,100 - the number of people who received back to school assistance; 3,275 - the number of Red Cross staff and volunteers who worked on Fort McMurray fire victim relief; and 246,421 - the number of staff and volunteer hours worked on the effort to date.
 
McManus and Melanie Soler, who is organizing the relief effort in Fort McMurray, appeared before Drumheller Town Council on Monday, November 28 with their six month report on the Fort McMurray fire and to inform municipal leaders what they can do in the event of an emergency in the Drumheller Valley.
 
"Two of the areas, we're finding, that people often don't have access to are where their important legal documents are, also what do their insurance policies say and are they up to date," added McManus.
 
To learn more about what the Red Cross is doing or to become a volunteer or help out financially, go online at www.redcross.ca.
 

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