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

UBCO engineers advance capability of wearable tech

A new, low-cost, ultra-stretchable sensor can do more with less say UBCO officials

Kelowna tour stop for Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams to perform June 10 at Prospera Place

North Korea experts to speak at UBC Okanagan symposium

UBC Okanagan is hosting a day-long symposium that will bring together experts on North Korea

Gold for Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa

Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

Arson suspected in Rutland house fire

The fire on Argyll Road last week destroyed the home’s carport

Your Feb. 23 Morning Brief

Check out the top stories of the day in the Okanagan-Shuswap with Carmen Weld’s Black Press Morning Brief.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

BCHL Today: Merritt Centennials keep moving while Salmon Arm Silverbacks slide

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Former Canuck Roberto Luongo addresses Florida shooting victims

Parkland, Fla., resident, delivers speech before Florida Panthers’ first home game since tragedy

B.C. man killed while being Good Samaritan on Coquihalla: ‘He couldn’t help but help people’

GoFundMe page has raised more than $15K in honour of 35-year-old Nicholas Funke

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Kelowna skier Kesley Serwa adds to Canada’s gold medals

Despite losses in men’s hockey and curling, Canadian women won medals in ski cross and figure skating

Oakes’ work hangs in YLW halls

Vernon-based artist has work installed in departure area

Suspected serial killer targeting Toronto gay community now faces six murder charges

Bruce McArthur now charged with murders of six men: Toronto police

Trump suggests more guns in schools to combat shootings

Trump floats two-step plan for gun control: More guns, more control

Most Read