Maritimers lend helping ear to Alberta flood victims, hundreds of calls coming in

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By Haley Ryan - Metro Halifax

DARTMOUTH - When families and friends call the Canadian Red Cross to find out if their loved ones in Alberta are alright, they’ll hear a Maritime voice on the end of the line.

A flooded downtown Calgary is seen from a aerial view of the city Saturday.

Sixty volunteers in Dartmouth, Saint John, N.B. and Moncton, N.B. have been taking information from those affected by the flooding in Calgary and other towns, to create a registry for busy Red Cross workers thousands of kilometres away.

“It’s really a way to get a handle on … whether they’re in shelter or if they’ve gone to stay with family,” said Dan Bedell, Atlantic spokesperson for the Canadian Red Cross.

There’s no need for our disaster teams in Alberta to be occupied with that,” Bedell said. “That can be done from anywhere.”

Bedell said since Friday, the Red Cross centre in Burnside alone has received over 500 phone calls from people either updating their whereabouts or making sure friends are accounted for.

He said volunteers have been operating in shifts of about 15 people at once, three times a day.

So far, Atlantic Canada has sent five volunteers to Alberta (four from Newfoundland and Labrador and one from P.E.I.) to help manage things hands-on.

Bedell said the public can specify “Alberta flood response” if you send in a Red Cross donation.

“We’re not looking for material things, it’s much more flexible for us to have funding to respond to the needs immediately in the area,” Bedell said.

Organizations: Red Cross

Geographic location: Alberta, Dartmouth, Saint John Moncton Calgary Burnside Atlantic Canada Newfoundland and Labrador

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