– Ottawa announces disaster funding

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The Harper government announced federal assistance May 5 to help Quebec’s First Nations deal with forest fires and flooding in their territories. Ottawa said it is investing $288,500 to help prepare First Nations communities for natural disasters.

However, none of the funding will be provided directly to First Nations communities, nor will it pay for actual action when fires or flooding occur.

The funds will be divided among several emergency management initiatives, including: Canadian Red Cross training programs in French and English on evacuations and services to those affected by emergencies; training on the Incident Command System and running an Emergency Operations Centre; Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (CESAM) training on risk management and emergency planning for First Nations; forest fire risk assessment and forest fire suppression training from Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU); and, development by Campus Notre-Dame de Foy of a basic course on emergency operations centres and an exercise plan for those in charge of community emergency management.

According to Quebec Canadian Red Cross Director General Michel Léveillé, “Many First Nations communities living in remote northern regions have to cope with risks such as forest fires and floods each year. We know that community members are better able to handle emergencies when they are prepared.”

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