UPDATE: Debit cards being rolled out to Alberta flood victims

UPDATE: The province has announced the first processing site for the delivery of pre-loaded debit cards to First Nations flood evacuees.

It will open on July 3 on the Siksika First Nation’s business centre, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

CALGARY- The province is busy rolling out pre-loaded debit cards to victims of last week’s devastating floods.

The staged rollout of resources aims to reach all residents still displaced by the flooding in southern Alberta.

However, “due to the scale of flood damage, our first focus is providing financial assistance to those in the evacuated High River area,” said Rick Fraser, Associate Minister of Regional Recovery and Reconstruction in a press release on Wednesday.

Read more: ‘We don’t have a flood, we have a disaster,’ says mayor as tensions rise in High River, Alberta

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“We will ensure that every Albertan who remains displaced is supported and we are working to help those most in need first,” said Fraser.

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On Thursday, pre-loaded debit card processing sites were set up in the communities of Nanton and Vulcan, although long lines were reported. About 8,250 people received their payments, for a total of $7 million in relief.

More processing sites will be set up in the coming weeks. Any affected High River residents who cannot attend in person can send a family member to represent them.

Government officials said they are also working with members of affected First Nations communities to decide the best way to deliver debit cards.

According to the press release, debit cards for the Siksika community will be delivered next week, at the request of Siksika Chief Charles Weaselhead.

Earlier this week the provincial government approved $1 billion in aid, as part of the first phase of emergency recovery and reconstruction in Alberta.

“We are going to do whatever it takes to get everyone back to a place where they can continue to live their lives,” said Alberta Premier Alison Redford on Monday.

“The world changed on Thursday morning…and we’ve come to terms with that.”

Read more: Alberta government approves $1 billion in emergency funding for flood recovery

The pre-loaded debit cards are to help evacuees with immediate housing and day-to-day expenses. Those who qualify will receive $1,250 per adult and $500 per child.

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The government is urging residents who are still unable to return home to first register with the Red Cross as more processing location sites are announced.

Click here for more information on how to register for a pre-loaded debit card and site locations.

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