On May 1, 2016, a wildfire began southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta. On May 3, it swept through the community, destroying approximately 2,400 homes and buildings and forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta’s history. It continued to spread across northern Alberta into Saskatchewan, consuming forested areas and impacting Athabasca oil sands operations. The fire spread across approximately 590,000 hectares before it was finally declared to be under control on July 5, 2016. It is the costliest disaster in Canadian history with billions of dollars in direct and indirect damage. $300 million have been raised through individual/corporate donations from across Canada and beyond, including contributions by provincial and federal governments. Some of the money raised is administered by the Canadian Red Cross who so far has distributed more than $100 million directly to the nearly 90,000 evacuees impacted by the fire. Most Fort McMurray residents returned home in early June only to find their homes in various states of disrepair and smoke damage. Water supply was initially not safe for drinking and insurance issues continue to be a challenge for many. The speaker will explain how the Red Cross and government recovery response has been working and give thoughts to where the remaining disaster relief funds may be spent.
Speaker:     Jennifer McManus Jennifer McManus became the Alberta Provincial Director of the Canadian Red Cross weeks after the June 2013 flood. Since then, she has been part of leadership on both the relief and recovery teams. Jennifer’s role has many different facets; from supporting the provincial Red Cross operation to holding the external and government relations portfolios in Alberta. Having travelled to over 40 countries, Jennifer has vast experience and brings a unique perspective to her position.

Jennifer studied Political Science at Simon Fraser University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong and took a course on the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which aided in her choice to specialize in International Relations with a focus on Public International Law. She has volunteered with the Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian Issues Program in Alberta and played a key role in evaluating programs for Indigenous youth for the Canadian Red Cross in Treaty 7.  Moderator: Michelle Day

Date: Thursday, November 10, 2016 Time: Noon - 1:30 pm Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S Cost: $12.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea)

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