(November 26, 2011) – The Canadian Red Cross is mobilizing to help meet immediate needs in the community of Attawapiskat situated on James Bay in northern Ontario.
“We have been working closely with public officials and Chief Theresa Spence to assess needs, determine the best course of action and how the Red Cross may be able to provide support,” says John Saunders, provincial director of disaster management for the Canadian Red Cross in Ontario.
Charlie Angus, the NDP Member of Parliament, Timmins-James Bay revealed the conditions on the reserve which he described as a “fourth world” community lacking in basic sanitation or proper water and with families crammed into makeshift tents.
Angus’s video of his visit to the reserve and blog post on Huffington Post Canada has caused public outrage and put pressure on the federal government to step in.
According to Red Cross’s John Saunders, some of the needs currently identified include generators, heaters, insulated sleeping mats, blankets and winter clothing.
“Chief Spence has asked that the Red Cross provide support with donation management as the community has been inundated with offers of assistance,” says Saunders. “We are continuing to work closely with Chief Spence to identify what is needed immediately and make arrangements to get supplies into the community as soon as possible.”
Financial donations may be made online at www.redcross.ca, by calling 1-800-418-1111 or through your local Canadian Red Cross office. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked “Attawapiskat” and can also be mailed to the Canadian Red Cross, Ontario Zone, 5700 Cancross Court, Mississauga, ON, L5R 3E9.