$2,000 payments coming to eligible evacuees from flooded B.C. communities

Eligible evacuees from B.C.'s flood-ravaged communities will be receiving support payments of $2,000 per household through the Canadian Red Cross, the government announced Tuesday.

The payments are intended to help displaced residents meet "the immediate needs associated with being evacuated due to flooding," the Ministry of Public Safety said in a news release.

Only B.C. residents who were forced to leave their primary residence due to evacuation orders resulting from last week's intense storm are eligible, officials said.

Deputy Premier Mike Farnworth encouraged all British Columbians who are able to donate to one of the numerous organizations aiding in the province's flood response, such as food banks and the United Way.

"We've been tested by disaster after disaster in recent years," Farnworth said at a news conference Tuesday. "Each time we have risen to the challenge by working together, by helping each other."

He also acknowledged a coalition of B.C. business that have already donated more than $1 million to the Red Cross's B.C. Floods and Extreme Weather Appeal.

All donations made through that fundraiser will be reserved for the current crisis, according to the charitable organization, with no more than five per cent going toward fundraising costs.

For evacuees to receive the $2,000 payments, they must first register with the Red Cross by calling 1-800-863-6582 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Officials assured evacuees that the extra financial support will not impact their eligibility for other benefits through the B.C. Emergency Support Services program, such as hotel reimbursements.

Farnworth said B.C. residents can also help with the province's flooding response by "keeping the roads clear and avoiding unnecessary travel through hard-hit areas."

Officials have also asked that drivers conserve fuel, and take public transit as much as possible, until the province's incoming supply of gasoline is restored to normal.