Facts and figures about disasters that have forced large-scale evacuations | iNFOnews

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Facts and figures about disasters that have forced large-scale evacuations

May 18, 2016 - 6:50 PM

EDMONTON - The Alberta government is telling the 80,000 residents of Fort McMurray, Alta., who were evacuated when a wildfire entered the city on May 3, that they may be able to start going home by June 1 — a span of one month. The fire destroyed more than 2,400 buildings, but firefighters managed to save almost 90 per cent of the city. Here are timelines on other disasters that forced large-scale evacuations.

July 2015: Forest fires push about 7,000 people out of their homes in the northern Saskatchewan communities of La Ronge, Air Ronge and the Lac La Ronge First Nation. There is no damage in La Ronge, but 90 minutes away in Montreal Lake, 15 families are reported to have lost their homes. The evacuation, ordered on July 4, lasts about two weeks, with people starting to return home on July 17, while others have to wait until July 23.

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July 2013: A fiery oil-train derailment on July 6 kills 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Que., and destroys much of the downtown core. One thousand people are evacuated from the immediate area, and another 1,000 from a community downwind. Most begin to go home July 9, others have to wait two weeks, and some have no homes left to which they can return. Nearly six million litres of oil spill in the derailment, contaminating 31 hectares of land.

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June 2013: Flooding forces the evacuation of 75,000 people in Calgary on June 21. Most are allowed to return to their homes two days later. Within days, the number of people affected rises to 100,000 as other southern Alberta communities, including Canmore and High River, are submerged. About a third of the residents of High River are allowed back into their houses a week later; for some, the wait is several weeks longer. Damage is estimated as high as $6 billion, and four people die as a direct result of the flooding.

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May 2011: More than 10,000 people flee a wildfire that destroys one-third of Slave Lake, Alta. More than 500 homes and buildings — including the town hall, library and radio station — are damaged or destroyed at a cost of almost $1 billion. A pilot fighting the blaze dies when his helicopter crashes. The evacuation is ordered on May 15 and people are allowed to begin going home on May 27, just under two weeks later.

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May 2011: The province of Manitoba experiences what officials call a one-in-350-year flood, and officials divert flood water to Lake St. Martin, forcing the evacuation of six First Nations in the area. The Lake St. Martin reserve begins its evacuation on May 5. Five years later, more than 1,000 evacuees have still not returned home. The federal and provincial governments have spent more than $100 million on housing evacuees in temporary accommodations.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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