Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Fort McMurray Again

      Have you heard anything about Fort McMurray lately?

      Not likely!

      The media is around when they can get sensational pictures of billowing clouds of smoke and flames licking through the trees. Well, there are no big fires so the media has gone on in search of some other sensational story.

       But Fort McMurray is still there and it's still a serious story.

       A few days ago the wind changed and the temperature dropped so the fire died down and travelled away for mcMurray. There are still hot spots which can become very dangerous again.

      So people are going back home? Not so fast. There's lots that has to be done before 90000 people go tearing home. Infrastructure has to be checked to see if it's working. So checks on electricity, gas, water , sewer and other services have to be made. Basic stock in all businesses has to be filled. There's no gas in the whole city.A grand plan has to be made before people can return home. It's not going to happen anytime soon.

     Today adults were issued debit cards for $1250 each and $500 for each child. The Red Cross is issuing $500 per person. The Red Cross has raised $67 000 000.  After  seven days some basics have to be purchased like clothing.

     People will be going back but not right away. Their kids are being enrolled in schools. 11000 kids were enrolled in Ft McMurray schools when they evacuated. Many of those kids will remain in their new schools until the end of the year.

     Now 85 - 90% of the city was saved. Over 2000 buildings were destroyed. That puts many people in a difficult situation. Those who lost houses will have some difficult decisions to make. I think in the short term temporary housing will be brought in and construction camps will be used.

    So there's no hot news but the real tough story is still there and will go on for years. Estimates of three years for rebuilding are being suggested. Estimated damage is nine billion dollars.

Ron Quintal from the Fort McKay volunteer fire department was surprised to be getting a call to help in Fort McMurray, and the damage left the veteran firefighter taken aback.

This is a photo from CBC