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Report reveals shortcomings when dealing with Fort McMurray wildfire

Last Updated Oct 30, 2018 at 10:09 am MDT

A helicopter battles a wildfire in Fort McMurray Alta, on Wednesday May 4, 2016.A report on lessons learned from the Fort McMurray wildfire recommends improved prevention along with better disaster management and evacuation planning. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

FORT MCMURRAY – A detailed report into the effects of the Fort McMurray wildfire on Indigenous communities has found major shortcomings in how authorities worked with First Nations.

The report from 11 Indigenous communities in the area was released today.

The survey funded by the Red Cross found municipal, provincial and federal authorities weren’t sure who was supposed to deal with Aboriginal people, so nobody did.

Report author Tim Clark says it was days before the Fort McMurray First Nation even knew there was an emergency operations centre.

The survey found some evacuees were returned to communities still under threat from the fire.

And Metis organizations weren’t able to get federal recovery funding at all, which almost wiped out their financial reserves.

Clark says governments also didn’t consider that most Indigenous people’s homes were older and far fewer were insured.

He says work must start now on building trust and relationships before there’s another natural disaster.