Red Cross ships fridges, freezers to evacuated communities of Pauingassi and Little Grand Rapids

News source from CTV News

Ahmar Khan, CTV Winnipeg

Published Sunday, June 17, 2018 4:09PM CST

Last Updated Sunday, June 17, 2018 5:38PM CST

After hundreds of fridges and freezers were destroyed or damaged during wildfires that struck Pauingassi and Little Grand Rapids First Nations the Canadian Red Cross is filling the void.

The humanitarian organization is sending nearly 800 fridges and freezers to the two communities to help residents resume normal lives.

The appliances were deemed not fit to use, as they were sitting dormant for weeks with rotten food and chemicals inside making them unsafe. 

“You can just imagine, over the last few weeks you’ve had food sitting in your fridge where the temperatures are reaching almost thirty degrees outside so everything is spoiling,” said Shawn Feely, vice president of the Canadian Red Cross in Manitoba.

“People are not ready to go home quite yet. We still have to have power to go back to the community, once the power is on, then the water plants have to be put on, water needs to be tested,” said Feely, who is unsure of exact timing. “It’s going to be some time yet.”

Feely said in both communities clean-up crews are disposing of rotten food and appliances that are not deemed safe anymore.

While there is no exact number available on the costs, Feely said the Red Cross has spent at least $1-million dollars.

The fires originally started on Wednesday, May 23 and laid waste to thousands of hectares of land causing mass evacuations in both communities.

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