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Province to provide $147M in disaster relief after northern Alberta floods

Last Updated May 8, 2020 at 5:11 pm MDT

Premier Jason Kenney providing update on disaster relief for northern Alberta on May 8, 2020. (photo taken from CityNews livestream)

The Alberta government announced $147 million in disaster relief for communities affected by flooding during spring ice breakup.

13,500 residents from several northern Alberta communities, including Fort McMurray, evacuated last month after nearby rivers spilt their banks due to huge ice jams.

Premier Jason Kenney said the COVID-19 pandemic compounded the challenges of flood mitigation and recovery.

“The devastation caused by the flooding we saw in Fort McMurray and throughout the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Mackenzie County has impacted thousands of lives, washing away priceless memories and losing the security of your home or business.”

Laila Goodridge, MLA for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche thanked the Premier and Alberta’s cabinet for approving the RMWB for the Disaster Recovery Program (DRP).

“I’m grateful that even in the midst of an unprecedented global health emergency our government is committing significant resources to help Fort McMurray get back on its feet.”

Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Tany Yao said the funding will allow the region to rebuild and move forward.

“Our region has faced many challenges in recent years, and I am grateful to the Premier and cabinet for recognizing the impact this flood has had, and moving so quickly to put this Disaster Recovery Program in place.”

Officials say at least 3,000 residents still cannot move back because of water damage and a lack of power.

Mayor Don Scott previously said most people either don’t have insurance or not enough to deal with the damage.

READ MORE: Mayor Scott estimated flood damage more than $100 million

He called the announcement great news from residents impacted by the historic flood.

“While we are just beginning our path to recovery, this commitment demonstrates how Albertans always come together to help each other during challenging times.”

The 2020 River Break Up Flood impacted members of municipal staff and even some RMWB Councillors.

“I would also like to thank my Council colleagues, some of them who are impacted themselves, for their tireless efforts in championing our community and advocating and being there for those most impacted.

Mayor and Councillors also surveyed flood damages with Regional Fire Chief Jody Butz on April 28.

READ MORE: RMWB Council tours flood-impacted areas

“On behalf of the region, I would like to thank Premier Kenney, Minister Madu and our MLAs Laila Goodridge and Tany Yao for their leadership and timely support to our residents when it is most needed.

Mayor Scott said Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo would persevere.

We look forward to working with our provincial and other partners to release more details on how this will help you recover in the days ahead. This is a great step in the right direction. For now, stay strong, stay safe and stay together.

This article includes excerpts from 660 News.