Evacuees lined up outside the Sandman Centre in Kamloops. Kimberly Vance-Lundsbye photo.

Evacuee benefits extended to July 20

Including accommodation, food and clothing vouchers.

  • Jul. 16, 2017 5:45 a.m.

By Melissa Smalley

BC wildfire evacuees who are relying on benefits from Evacuation Social Services (ESS) will see that support extended until at least July 20, according to ESS director Liz Jones.

Jones says that benefits for evacuees will be extended until at least Thursday, however, those displaced from their homes will need to re-register at one of the many evacuation centres around the province.

Benefits available to wildfire evacuees – the number of which is estimated to be 37,000 across the province following yesterday’s evacuation order in Williams Lake – include accommodation, food and clothing vouchers.

“If they can’t afford to put themselves up somewhere or they don’t have anyone in the area they can stay with, they will be offered group lodging or billeting,” Jones says, noting most hotels are full. “We don’t ever give out cash, but we do have some food vouchers, and if you left in a hurry and don’t have clothes, you can get a clothing voucher as well.”

Jones confirms that residents who have left their homes voluntarily are not eligible for benefits unless they have a proven medical reason to have evacuated without an order to do so.

She also encourages everyone who has been placed under evacuation order to register with the Red Cross if they haven’t done so already; registration can be done by phone at 1-800-863-6582 or online at www.epactnetwork.com/en/signup/redcross

While Jones notes that locally there has been a certain amount of frustration from evacuees, who are finding it challenging to access information, she assures the community the ESS staff are doing the best they can given the circumstances.

The Kamloops evacuation centre – located at the Sandman Centre – will be looking for experienced volunteers to deal with the influx of displaced Williams Lake residents this weekend. A volunteer area is set up where those wanting to help can be put to work, Jones says.

Sunday morning, hundreds of evacuees – many of them seniors – could be seen lined up outside of the Sandman Centre, while hundreds of pets were also outside the arena.

Just Posted

Freezing rain warning in effect for B.C. Southern Interior

Environment Canada issued the freezing rain warning for most of the Southern Interior Tuesday morning

Dine Around Thompson Okanagan set to kick off

Popular event kicks off in Kelowna with a sold out launch party

“It’s amazing how newspapers can solve problems”

Story leads to generous donation for Princeton woman…and there is a twist to the tale

Thrift store volunteer returns Bible to Alberta church

Salmon Arm woman knew documents were meaningful and made efforts to contact parish.

Video: Documentary features Okanagan ice climbing

First documentary for Penticton filmmaker captures elusive Okanagan ice climbing

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag for Canada at 2018 Olympics

The pair earned a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

Diplomacy on agenda at North Korea summit in Vancouver

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting Tuesday to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Kids chained in Calif. house of horrors; parents arrested

Authorities say an emaciated teenager led deputies to home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions

‘Reprehensible’: Trudeau abortion policy raises ire of U.S. right

“This man is reprehensible,” tweeted former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka

‘I shouldn’t have to have a husband:’ Winnipeg woman criticizes men-only club

Jodi Moskal discovered the Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club continues to ban women as members, as it has done since opening in 1909.

Japan public TV sends mistaken North Korean missile alert

The false alarm came two days after Hawaii’s emergency management department sent a mistaken warning

Toronto girl dies after being pinned between vehicles while picked up from school

Police say an SUV with no driver in it rolled forward and pinned the girl against her father’s car

Senior randomly stabbed in B.C. mall food court

Woman arrested after victim, 71, suffers serious injuries

Most Read