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Alberta notes improving situation along Athabasca River

Last Updated Apr 29, 2020 at 3:25 pm MDT

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19, in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDIT: A previous version of this article stated registered evacuees could sign up for emergency funding through the province’s website, but the RMWB said that registration is yet to be developed.

The province provided an update on spring flooding in Fort McMurray and northern Alberta.

Due to flooding from the Athabasca and Clearwater rivers, 13,000 residents evacuated the downtown.

Premier Jason Kenney announced a disaster fund for Fort McMurray residents.

Evacuees will receive $1250 per adult and $500 per dependent child starting May 4 at noon.

The RMWB added registration is not available yet for the funding.

There may be a 24-hour hold on e-transfers to bank accounts.

If evacuees are unable to secure a transfer, they can call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre at 1-877-644-9992.

Kenney said the province and RMWB will cover the accommodations of evacuees at hotels and work camps.

“Our government will stand by Albertans during this trying time and we will make sure everyone has the support they need. Financial assistance is available to evacuees to help with their short-term needs while they are away from their homes.”

He added Wood Buffalo should qualify for reimbursement in the Government of Alberta’s Disaster Recovery Program (DRP).

Government House Leader Jason Nixon also addressed rumours concerning the region’s tailings ponds.

“No tailings ponds have been breached and there is no imminent risk of floodwater breaching any of the tailings ponds in the oilsands region.”

Nixon added floodwaters remain below the level of the ponds, and the province receives twice-daily updates on their condition.

Both the RMWB and the province report a drop in water levels on the Athabasca and Clearwater rivers.

Nixon said Alberta Environment reports a one-half metre drop below the Athabasca River bridge and melting along four kilometres of the ice jam downstream.

He and Premier Kenney said they expect water levels to abate within 48 to 72 hours.

Earlier, the RMWB reported one fatality as a result of the flooding and damages to 1230 structures.

READ MORE: Flood claims one life and damages 1,230 structures

Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Community and Social Services expressed his condolences and support to the region.

“I know you are worried about your homes and you’re likely concerned about how you will pay for expenses, while you’re away. These emergency payments will help with the costs of evacuation. Our government stands with you. Together, we will help you get through this.”

100,000 additional N95 masks are due to arrive in Fort McMurray for residents and volunteers.

Residents of Grayling Terrace may also return to their homes as the RMWB lifted its evacuation order for the neighbourhood.