Our neighbours in crisis: How can we help? (Episode 1805)

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The worst wildfires California has ever seen. Thick, chocking, black smoke stretches across hundreds of thousands of acres. People driven from the safety of their homes in a matter of hours, with little more than the clothes on their back.

In Canada, an electrical fire forced 1,500 people from their Toronto apartment for more than three months with no sign of when they will be able to return home.

And in our nation’s capital, some people are still without homes after a series of twisters touched down two months ago.

When our neighbours are driven from their homes, are we there to help?

Pastor Josh Gallagher evacuated his home with his family as the wildfire in Northern California, known as the Camp Fire, spread at unprecedented rates towards his town of Paradise. He tells us how his community is trying to focus on recovery as they process losing everything.

And in Toronto, Karen Elizabeth is upset she is still not able to move back to her apartment after an electrical fire at 650 Parliament St. forced all the tenants out indefinitely.

Ottawa is still in recovery mode after 6 twisters touched down in the region in September. Pastor Mike Hogeboom lost the entire roof of his church. Councillor Eli El-Chantiry says recovery efforts are slow in the area.

It’s hard to understand what it’s like to lose your home. Marilyn Monk’s townhouse set fire almost a year ago. She’s moved 4 times since the fire, and describes what it’s like to lose the place you’ve built to be a safe refuge.

There are indeed psychological implications. Professor Candice Monson describes the trauma we experience after losing our homes for extended periods of time.

It’s something people in Fort McMurray are still contending with after the wildfires swept through the Alberta city in May 2016. Pastor Lucas Welsh was on the frontlines, trying to put out those fires. He describes the spiritual recovery his community needed when they returned home.

 

 

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