As Canada watches fire burn the city of Fort McMurray, people across the country are reaching out to help.
Around 80,000 people were forced to flee their homes Tuesday evening as flames took over the Alberta city.
The Canadian Red Cross sprang into action immediately, asking people to donate online through an emergency Alberta Fires Appeal.
“We know everybody is really eager to get involved, to pitch-in in some way, shape or form,” said Amanda Purcell with the Canadian Red Cross Wednesday.
The organization is pushing for people to use their site specifically, as a fail-safe way to donate.
“That way we know your donation is going to come through – it’s going to come straight to us – and it’s going to go to people who are most affected right now.”
People in Saskatchewan can also donate in person at the Canadian Red Cross offices in Saskatoon and Regina.
Another option widely shared on social media asks people to text ‘redcross’ to 30333 for a $5 donation to the efforts. A confirmation text will appear before any money is accepted.
Purcell said the text-to-donate option is viable, but is offered from a third party and might pose problems for some.
“It doesn’t always work depending on your cell phone provider,” she said.
Those hoping to help from afar are also reminded to remain vigilant, as some fraudulent donation accounts have already been spotted online.
The Red Cross is also providing the latest information on the evacuations. Those hoping to find out where loved ones have taken refuge are asked to call the organization at 1-888-350-6070.
To help keep track of evacuees and where they are located, anyone forced from their homes is asked to email [email protected] with their name, location and confirmation they are safe.
As news broke of the mass exodus out of Fort McMurray Tuesday evening, offers for places to stay poured in.
On social media, #ymmfire trended for hours, while #ymmhelp acted as a channel for people linking to others for support.
A public Facebook page offering evacuation relocation help has been set up to connect those in need with others.
Another page was created to offer support for people needing a place to stay.
People are also asked to follow Alberta Emergency Alert on Twitter for the latest. A live feed of tweets from the account is available below.
Email [email protected]
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