$1 Million Grant Given to Lytton, B.C. to Support Recovery from Devastating Wildfire

The British Columbia government says it is immediately providing a grant of $1 million to support the Village of Lytton as it recovers from a destructive wildfire last summer.

The fast-moving fire razed much of the Fraser Canyon community on June 30, just one day after the temperature there hit an all-time Canadian high of 49.6 Celsius.

The province says half of the grant money will support efforts to restart the local economy, while the rest will go toward village operations, including paying staff.

Mayor Jan Polderman says in a statement that the village was devastated, but their spirits remain strong and the grant will help with immediate, critical needs.

Jennifer Rice, parliamentary secretary of emergency preparedness, says business owners and the local government are facing an “enormous challenge” in rebuilding.

Rice and Roly Russell, parliamentary secretary of rural development, have been appointed as recovery liaisons between the province and the village.

The province says the funds will support four key areas: emergency and temporary housing; the local government recovery team; safe return and re-entry, including removing debris and assessing environmental hazards; as well as other financial and in-kind support, such as the management of donations made to the community.

The news comes months after the Insurance Bureau of Canada estimated the damages caused by the wildfire in the village of Lytton to be around $78 million.

The bureau says in a statement there have been about 300 claims so far, most of which are related to residential properties.

Aaron Sutherland, vice-president of western and Pacific at the bureau, says Canada’s insurers are committed to helping rebuild from the loss and to help the residents of Lytton recover.

The bureau’s statement says the Lytton wildfire is a tragic reminder of the increased risk facing communities in B.C. and Canada from a changing climate.

“This wildfire has devastated the community,” Sutherland says in the statement.

Governments at all levels must prioritize investments that build resilience and better protect families and communities, the statement says.

“We all must do better to prepare for wildfires, floods, heat, hail and windstorms. These perils are having an outsized impact on those most vulnerable and, as a result, we must greatly enhance our efforts to mitigate future change and adapt to the new weather reality we face,” Sutherland says.

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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