6 weeks after the Tornado; where has all the charity money gone?

It’s been a tough 6 weeks.

$295 million is the toll that was taken by the tornado’s on the last day of the ‘summer of 2018.’

With winter crowding in, there is an awful lot of anxiety matched with lots and lots of questions — especially in Dunrobin.

After an astounding outpouring of community volunteerism and charity, things have been moving very slowly.

There have been a number of reasons for this.

One area is obviously insurance.

Plainly put, some companies were too slow out of the gate.  Yes, there is much to do; clean up, inspections, the removal of personal items, hydro/gas re-certification and the determinations made on septic, well and structural.

But we dutifully pay these insurance premiums, so we don’t have to wrestle two alligators, at the same time, should the worst of the worst befall us.

And everything — short of loss of life — HAS happened to many residents of this tiny rural village in west Ottawa.

My own home policy just came up for review right after the Tornado.  We live 1 mile from Dunrobin and they jacked our home premium up by 27%.  As I don’t see any 27% pay increases in the cards, I complained to the company that I’ve been with for a decade.  I have never made a claim, so I shopped it, but to no avail.  I simply couldn’t find a better rate.

As it was explained to me; natural disasters of all kinds affect us here in Canada whether it be the hurricanes in the States, fires out west, or tornado’s and floods here.  The Insurance Companies are reeling right now, so expect your rates to be jacked soon as well.

But it really is hard to feel sorry for Insurance Companies.

In 2014, Manulife reported a $40 billion profit.  Great West Life almost $30b and Sun Life almost $20b.

We also saw some of this with the flood that hit Constance Bay in the spring of 2017, and long-time Ward 5 Councillor, Eli El Chantiry, has fired off a few warning shots.  The latest was something to the effect of ‘get it together or we’ll start to publish the names of the companies who aren’t getting the job done, in the media’

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/dunrobin-homeowners-struggling-to-rebuild-1-month-after-tornado/ar-BBOHrdq

Present day, the city has assessed 500 properties, and 1/3 of them have structural issues.

So that’s about 160 “property repair” orders in, and not enough contractors to help actually MAKE those repairs.

26 demolition orders have been made so far.  Those homes were the ones pretty much flattened.

Another issue, finding construction companies to get out there and get going.

If you can help please contactWest Carleton Tornado Relief at:

https://www.westcarletonrelief.ca/?fbclid=IwAR2UuKK4-v-9ypCtsSIq0h7Oob-eKDL9hz1ecGqKXfrL52mM_rSW9VsglTM_____

Or email me directly at gonzo@boom997.com

Following the flood that hit Constance Bay that spring, it was the Mennonites who swooped in and made it all possible.

They offered their labour for free and worked all winter long to make it all happen.

Around 380 homes in the community were damaged in that flood, and four had to be demolished and rebuilt completely.

The “Provincial Disaster Relief Program” was happily received, but you can’t build a home with $250,000 anymore.  Especially when well and septic are involved.

Without the Mennonites, we’d have some people still paying for homes that they couldn’t even live in.

There’s also the charity angle, and the Red Cross has been very slow in getting emergency money out and other emergencies are arising because of it.

Right now, the “West Carleton Tornado Relief” is overseeing things in the area.  They have gathered some of the same people who helped organize the flood relief initiative in the Bay and are putting their hard earned experience to good use.

They are taking the bull by the horns.

It has been reported that many residents of Dunrobin are quite ‘cross’ with the Red Cross and it’s become one of the main focuses at the town-hall meetings that have been chaired by the “Tornado Relief” group.

Len Russell, who is on the board, says the Red Cross seems to use “slight of hand” and needs to make their charity far more transparent.

The Red Cross was also a hot topic during the flood, and here we go again.

Russell says, “they put multiple things together so they seem to expand on each other when they are actually distinct facts. They have helped 103 families in Ottawa, so 103 of thousands, not 103 of 138 in Dunrobin. They disbursed $138,000 which is not the same as putting money in the hands of people; the $138,000 includes staffing costs, travel expenses etc. I find it very disturbing the way they provide data that reduces transparency.”

Some of the worst hit residents have indeed received the $500 – $700 initially doled out as ‘emergency relief’ but with 1.3 million raised, one man who was a renter who lost everything called what he received ‘chicken scratch.’

Another victim who was turned down initially said the Red Cross has ‘dropped the ball.’  He has since received $500 and the Red Cross begun to circle back after this became a story.

The reaction of people is, ‘I needed you in the first week,‘” Russell said.

“We don’t need you three years from now, and yet you’re going to hold on to this money for years.'”

So far $134,000 has been handed out across the different areas affected.

$600,000 has been put aside for long term help, which seems understandable, but Russell cautions “yes the concept of Long Term aid seems very diligent but, at least in the case of Constance Bay ‘long term’ meant a handful of people got 18 months of help with additional living expenses… after that people were on their own. No help with repair or rebuilding.”

What is not understood is what happened to the other $720,000 dollars that was earmarked for the initial emergency.

Victims have not seen it, and a red faced Red Cross has had a difficult time answering any questions.

Here is CTV’s Cathy Latham, who grew up in Carp, interviewing Red Cross spokesman Jean-Pierre Taschereau, who had a very hard time explaining where the emergency money is:

https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/i-m-still-in-financial-crisis-dunrobin-tornado-victims-wonder-what-is-taking-the-red-cross-so-long-to-disperse-funds-1.4154611

Wow!  Simply put, not good enough.

Winter is coming, and we cannot have good people losing faith in our brand name charities.

The first 6 weeks saw an amazing community pull together after an unimaginable disaster swept their life’s work away in seconds.

We can’t see them let down now by the very institutions put in place to help.

In the lurch, the all-volunteer “West Carleton Tornado Relief” has taken it upon themselves to see this through.

To date they have :

  • Received $75,565 in donations,
  • On October 16th, 2018 approved a one time payment of $500 to each of our 122 registered families; $61,000. The payments are now almost fully distributed,
  • Approved hiring Iron Horse Security to actively patrol Dunrobin village.
  • Approved six other circumstance based measures to address critical issues, to prevent abuse the details will not normally be published. To illustrate what this means, one of the measures was to allocate $4,500 of budget to pay up to $1,000 per registered family for utility re-connection.

They have also been helping farmers, who lost their outbuildings, with temporary storage, so they can store hay, straw, feed and equipment for the winter.

Charities cannot exist without trust, and we see these funds get to those who need it the most and we are late.  Giddy up!

Another way to help and get a great night out at the same time; AFTER THE STORM, a free concert on Saturday, November 10th at the TD Place Arena featuring Jim Cuddy, Matt Mays and Kira Isabella.

Just bring a donation for the United Way, and enjoy the show.

And if you would like to discuss this personally with the Red Cross, tornado victims still looking for financial assistance can register at 1-800-863-6582 or meet with a Red Cross representative at two reception areas:

*West Carleton, 56170 Carp Road in Kinburn

(Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 2pm – 7:30pm)

*Arlington Woods, Woodvale Pentecostal Church, 205 Greenbank Road

(Monday, Wednesday and Friday 2pm – 7:30pm)

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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