MP, MLA offer support to Cariboo wildfire evacuees

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty and Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond are encouraging Cariboo wildfire evacuees in Prince George to stay strong and are also praising area residents and local government for the support they've given to the more than 8,000 displaced people in the city.

"I'm most proud of hearing all of the stories from evacuees and what they are going through and of the many stories from volunteers and the countless hours folks in the community are helping out tirelessly, not wanting to let anyone down," Doherty said.

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He was ready to lend a hand with rescue efforts from the very beginning, even before evacuees made their way into the city.

"From the very first days, it was about assessing the situation, open the lines of communication with the federal government and getting a team organized. It was all about what we could do immediately like having water on hand, ready for evacuees as they arrive," Doherty said.

And as evacuees arrived, Doherty decided to stay.

"I ended up staying and volunteering," Doherty said.

"With my background in aviation and emergency response, we did what we had to do if it was offering an ear, a shoulder or serving food. Along with my daughter, who also has a background in aviation, other family members and friends, we were ready to offer what we could."

Staff and volunteers continue to register evacuees arriving in Prince George at the Emergency Reception Centre at CNC.

There are now 8,100 registered evacuees in the city including nearly 700 registered in group lodging at the college and at the Northern Sport Centre at UNBC.

"I've taken lots of calls and talked to lots of people who are displaced," Doherty said.

"We need to support our city and district. We've taken a situation that is chaotic and people have jumped in wherever they could."

For Doherty, it's hearing the stories of the struggles that keep him and many other volunteers driven to help.

It's the same for Bond.

"There are so many stories - story after story - it's been heartwrenching," she said.

"I can't imagine being in that position."

For Bond, finding ways to help practically was at the top of her list.

"During something like this it's about being a citizen of Prince George. I have been serving meals and spending time on parking lots speaking with evacuees," she said.

One evacuee was desperate for a manicure. Someone heard and offered a manicure to her and other evacuees, Bond said.

"There have been countless acts of generosity. If someone needs anything, someone else always steps up," she said.

"I love where I live."

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