Red Cross says it has made A/Cs and fans available for Pikangikum evacuees

·2 min read

The Sudbury branch of the Canadian Red Cross assisting around 500 evacuees from Pikangikum First Nation says it's aware of the housing complaints reported earlier this week.

“Our team is aware that there were uncomfortable conditions as a result of hot weather, and we worked with our partners onsite to address the situation by securing air conditioning units and fans for rooms,” said a Red Cross spokesperson.

“In addition, we continue to work closely with community liaisons to connect with individuals and families to ensure their needs are being met.”

The Pikangikum First Nation residents are temporarily staying in Greater Sudbury due to the forest fires that continue to grow in northwestern Ontario.

In partnership with Emergency Management Ontario, the City of Greater Sudbury and Public Health Sudbury and Districts, the Red Cross is working to help the people who have been impacted by the evacuation.

CBC reported on Tuesday that some of the Pikangikum evacuees staying in residences on the Laurentian University campus have moved to nearby hotels due to the recent heat wave where temperatures in Sudbury reached above 30 degrees Celsius.

A lack of air-conditioning and fans in the residences contributed to the uncomfortable conditions that prompted the move.

“When possible and upon request, the Red Cross has arranged moves to other locations both in Sudbury and in other municipalities in Ontario to ensure individuals and families are as comfortable as possible and, in some cases, to support family reunification,” said the Red Cross.

At the time of writing, The Sudbury Star was not able to contact any of the evacuees to get an update on their situation.

The Red Cross is providing services like registration, lodging, personal supplies and hygiene items, and meals to the evacuees, according to the spokesperson.

“The Red Cross is also working with partners to organize events and activities, such as games, nature walks and setting up an Indigenous Cultural Centre for those who wish to participate,” they said.

“In addition, there are a number of services available onsite in collaboration with local partners including health clinics.”

The City of Greater Sudbury did not comment on this specific situation when contacted, and instead issued the following statement: “The City's role is to provide support to Emergency Management Ontario and the Canadian Red Cross as they oversee evacuations following the threat of forest fires in communities across the province.

"We continue to work with these partner agencies to help support the community of Pikangikum during this difficult time.”

The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.

Twitter: @SudburyStar

Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star

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