The power outages that occurred after the passage of the tornadoes in Ottawa have made it so that thousands of Ottawans have found themselves in a situation of vulnerability. Aid agencies in the region must contend with the needs of the daily life in addition to those arising from the storm of 21 September last year.
Twelve days after the passage of the tornadoes that have devastated areas of Dunrobin and Arlington Woods, the organizations that help the community such as united way, Red Cross, community Housing and Ottawa food Bank Ottawa met with the mayor and representatives of the affected districts to discuss the immediate needs and those to come.
“Two events are in the past. There has been tornadoes and power outages. The tornado has affected a certain part of the population, and the outages have affected many more people. Every day, 102 organizations give food to the poor. It is a challenge because we must continue to serve these people in addition to help those who have experienced the power outage, ” said Carole Gagnon, vice-president of resource development for united way Ottawa.
The priority is to ensure food security, provide support in the area of mental health and reach out to vulnerable people.
“We’re not going to forget anyone. We will move from an emergency mode to a recovery phase. It is our job to ensure that we are able to effectively support the community, ” adds Michael Allen, president and ceo of the united way.
Since the events of 21 September, the agencies have received several donations from the community. United way Ottawa has collected $ 225,000 and the Ottawa Senators foundation 385 000 $.
Pressure on agencies
Eleven food banks in the west of the city, which feed almost 7600 people per month, have suffered the effects of the storm. They have lost all their food perishes during the power outage in addition to see the demand rise.
“A mother with two children received his cheque for the ontario child benefit on Thursday (20 September). It has a grocery store of $ 350 and has lost everything during the end of the week. It is not the only one in this situation “, says Michael Maidment, president and ceo of the food Bank of Ottawa.
The working group called “After the storm” is scheduled to meet again within two weeks to make the point.
“We know that there is a lot of work to do in the wake of the crisis caused by the tornadoes. We need to help people rebuild their lives and their home, ” says mayor Jim Watson.
The Red Cross anticipates requests for assistance in housing
Although the height of the crisis caused by the tornadoes is past, the effects last for several months. Aid agencies anticipate an increase in requests for assistance especially in the area of housing.
“People have found emergency accommodation with family or in hotels,” observes Jean-Philippe Tizi chief operating officer of the canadian Red Cross. Now, you want to work with the municipality to provide access to housing more comfortable in the long term because some of the houses will not be built before many months. “
The Red Cross has received a million dollars in donations since September 21, and to seek the generosity of the population to help the disaster victims.
Compared to flood-affected people of Gatineau, close to 80% of the households were insured. However, families face challenges with respect to transition issues.
“We must not forget that the insurance is not activated immediately. Sometimes, there are periods of transitions that can be difficult to manage for families and it is here that one can make the difference “, adds Mr. Tizi.
To date, more than 300 households have registered with the Red Cross.