Exactly two weeks ago, on July 5th 2013, a freight train hauling 72 tank cars of crude oil derailed and exploded in the middle of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The toll on this small town of 6,000 has been devastating, 42 are now confirmed dead and many others are still missing. The twisted wreckage burned for two days and weeks later workers are still unable to locate and recover all of the bodies. Many buildings in the downtown core have been decimated including the library and irreplaceable archives. An unknown quantity of oil has contaminated the Chaudière River.
This is the deadliest rail disaster in Canada in more than a century. As the mourning continues, the cleanup begins and the people of this town need our help.
There are numerous events and activities designed to raise funds to help the town. On July 17th, firefighters in Montreal collected money for the town and on July 18th a benefit concert was held.
The Red Cross says about $5.6 million in donations has come in so far to help its disaster relief effort in Lac-Mégantic.
There are more than 100 firefighters and municipal workers inside the worst-hit area of town and the Salvation Army is asking for help to feed those at the epicenter of cleanup efforts. One Montreal wholesaler has already provided a $3000 donation of food, but more is needed. Companies that sell bulk food are asked to donate food staples to the Salvation Army. For companies interested in supplying food aid please contact (514) 288-2848.
In addition to setting up an emergency shelter for those displaced by the explosion donations are being used for short-term recovery assistance for funeral and relocation costs, inventory replacement and study grants for those who were forced out of their homes or who had small businesses that were directly affected.
Money raised by the town will be distributed to citizens, commercial establishments and industries in order to help rebuild the community and its devastated downtown core.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.