An emergency reception centre in B.C.’s interior. (Momikara/Twitter)

Wildfire evacuees frustrated with Red Cross waits

Red Cross says first cash assistance packages came out yesterday

Long waits for Red Cross registration are causing frustration for B.C. wildfire evacuees.

“We went in to the emergency centre in 100 mile before the evacuation and they said to go online and call,” said 100 Mile House evacuee Jeremy Welch.

When Welch called, he was given an option to press ‘1’ and assured he would be called back. That took six hours.

“They took our information and said it could take some time to process,” he said. “They told us if you don’t hear back to call again.”

Welch didn’t hear back so he called, waiting on hold for nearly two hours until he managed to speak with someone.

“I’m not only person in this situation,” he said. “The funds and manpower just aren’t there.”

RELATED: Seven days is a “Disneyland suggestion” for returning home

B.C. and Yukon Red Cross vice-president Kimberley Nemrava said that they understand the evacuees frustration and are adding more resources by the day.

“People can rest assured that we will make sure everyone has chance to be registered,” Nemrava said. “We have dramatically increased Red Cross phone lines.”

The Red Cross is provided $600 cash to people displaced by the wildfires.

“We sent out the first wave of cash assistance yesterday,” she said but cautions that they funds aren’t meant to be a cure all.

“This is not to replace emergency social services if people. This is just to replace cost they would incur when they are evacuating.”

WATCH: Devastating footage from Boston Flats

Namrava didn’t have total registration numbers yet and noted that the Red Cross has to first validate that registrants are legitimate and then ensure the money has been delivered before they can tally up final numbers.

“We are asking people to be patient.”

The Red Cross isn’t taking non-monetary donations, Namrava said, but encourages people to work with their communities to help out evacuees.

RELATED: Cloverdale should do more for livestock affected by wildfires, says resident

“I’m sure you can appreciate the logistical challenges of sorting, packing, transporting and distributing the goods. Money is the most flexible for agency and client,” she said. “It also contributes to local economies which have taken a hit.”

Namrava said she’s been amazed by both the generosity of cash donations and efforts.

“People are taking in livestock and putting evacuees up for a few days.”

Just Posted

Milner actor taps into inner jokester for Langley Players comedy

The curtain goes up on The Foreigners next Thursday at the Langley Playhouse.

ON GARDENING IN LANGLEY: Ice storm caused damage to many trees

Advance columnist Pam Erikson suggestions tips for minimize winter damage and prepping for spring.

Township of Langley ranked No 1 ‘least tempting’ for millennials to live

Out of 85 cities, Township ranked lowest because of crime, affordability, says Point2homes.com

Trial begins for man charged with 2010 murder of Mandy Johnson

Langley single mom was fatally shot while in vehicle in Abbotsford

Langley’s Salvation Army Kettle Campaign raises $154,000

Christmas fundraiser supports community programs through Gateway of Hope

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Teachers’ union votes for non-confidence in school board

Lack of action after embattled trustee’s comments created unsafe workplace, Chilliwack teachers claim

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Aldergrove ball players ‘tune up’

Aldergrove Minor Baseball Association has set indoor workouts for all divisions

Most Read