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Community Update: the past 48 hours in the Wood Buffalo region

(Fort McMurray, AB – April 28, 2020) – The past 48 hours and the days ahead will not be forgotten. Our home, the region of Wood Buffalo, has experienced a natural disaster that has displaced many of our neighbours, friends, and loved ones. Homes, neighbourhoods, local businesses and community organizations have been impacted. 

Understandably, many community members have questions and concerns. The Municipality along with other levels of government as well as our community and industry partners are still heavily focused on life-safety and preserving critical infrastructure, such as the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre. 

Today’s Community Update will be the first of many as we are committed to keeping our neighbours and fellow community members and partners informed, as together, we navigate through the challenges we are facing. An email subscription tool has been created for those who would like to receive all updates directly to their email. Please sign up at rmwb.ca/floodupdate to stay informed. 

Here is an update on what has happened in the past 48 hours to protect and respond to the significant flooding in Draper, Waterways, Fort McMurray and surrounding area.  

  • 12,936 people have been evacuated 
  • Over 6,000 people have registered as evacuees and more are expected
  • Over 220 search and rescue operations have been conducted 
  • 270 first responders and emergency personnel deployed
  • 95 pieces of machinery and equipment deployed
  • 12,200 sandbags deployed
  • 5,300 sandbags are ready to be deployed 
  • 3,300 of damming material staged
  • Over 1700 rooms occupied by evacuees 
  • At this time, there are plenty of camp rooms available

Evacuees currently registered through emergency social services, and have been assigned a room – whether in a hotel or camp – will have that room for at least 7 days from they day they registered. Emergency social services will continue to monitor the need for lodging beyond that date. We encourage evacuees to be in touch with their insurance providers to understand what type of coverage they are eligible for, related to evacuations.

Evacuees who don’t need immediate support or accommodations are not required to check in. Anyone with questions or who needs assistance, should call the Pulse line. This situation continues to evolve and although we may not know all the answers at this time, we will do our best to get them for you. 

Water levels on the Clearwater River, Athabasca River and Hangingstone River continue to fluctuate and can change quickly. For all forecasts, water advisories, ice observations and more information about the rivers systems in the region, visit https://rivers.alberta.ca/

Understandably, many businesses and home owners are keen to understand the damage from flooding. A recovery and re-entry strategy are one of the objects at the Regional Emergency Coordination Centre and team members have begun this work. However, it is important to understand that re-entry isn’t possible until it is safe to be in these areas. 

Mandatory Evacuation Orders remain in effect for Draper, Waterways, Taiga Nova Industrial Park and the Lower Townsite of Fort McMurray, except for the hospital and Grayling Terrace. Access to the Lower Townsite is closed. 

For alerts, updates and more information, visit rmwb.ca/riverbreakup

In the event of an emergency and immediate assistance is needed, call 9-1-1.  

For further questions, please call Pulse at 780-743-7000 or 1-800-973-9663.

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Media inquiries:
media@rmwb.ca

FLOOD RECOVERY: Information and resources