By Tali Folkins on July, 20 2017
A recent post on Twitter shows smoke rising from wildfires in British Columbia’s Central Interior. Images: Andy Witteman
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the Anglican Church of Canada’s relief and development agency, is making an immediate contribution of $5,000 to help the Territory of the People provide relief to people affected by wildfires in the territory, PWRDF announced Wednesday, July 19.
The money, together with another $5,000 from the territory itself, will support ongoing wildfire relief in the Territory of the People, located in British Columbia’s Central Interior. More grants may be forthcoming in the future if requested by the territory, PWRDF spokesperson Janice Biehn said.
Gordon Light, bishop of the territory until 2008 (when it was known as the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior), has been appointed by the territory’s current bishop, Barbara Andrews, to oversee how the PWRDF funds will be spent, PWRDF said. The territory’s relief efforts are currently focused on providing food vouchers, toiletries, bus fare, clothing and other practical help to people who have had to leave their homes because of the fires, Light told PWRDF.
The funds, Light added, will likely be “quickly depleted,” given the number and needs of evacuees.
“All of the people of 100 Mile House and Williams Lake, as well as smaller communities along the Cariboo Highway, have been evacuated,” he said. “Most have come to either Kamloops in the south or Prince George in the north. Most evacuees left their homes with very little, and we don’t know how long it will be until they get home.”
In the long term, Light said, more money will likely also be needed for post-trauma assistance and to support projects aimed at helping people or communities that have lost homes or facilities.
Clergy and lay volunteers, Light said, are working at three major wildfire relief centres in Kamloops as well as a number of others in Prince George, where evacuees are being registered and housed.
Already by July 12, 14,000 people, including an estimated 1,000 Anglicans had had to leave their homes because of the wildfires raging in B.C.’s Central Interior. On Wednesday, July 19, B.C. Premier John Horgan extended a previously-declared state of emergency in the province by two weeks to cope with the effects of about 140 wildfires raging in the province. About 45,000 people are under either evacuation order or evacuation alert, with at least 41 homes lost to the fires.
Donations to PWRDF’s emergency fund can be made online (choosing “Emergency Response” from the drop-down menu), by phone (toll-free at 1-866-308-7973) or by mail. Mailed cheques should be payable to “PWRDF, Emergency Response,” and sent to:
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
80 Hayden Street
Toronto, ON M4Y 3G2
About the Author
Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.
Anglican Journal News, July 21, 2017