EDMONTON, CANADA — A year after the Fort McMurray wildfire, kababayans in the Alberta town are slowly rebuilding their lives.
The wildfire displaced more than 80,000 people and ravaged more than 2,400 homes and other buildings.
The Canadian government reported that the incident amounted to approximately $10 billion in financial losses.
Thousands of Filipinos live and work in the fire-ravaged area, and they say their lives have been changed forever.
“Nakita lang namin sa pelikula.We passed by the road na nagliliyab. Na experience namin as evacuees well treated naman kami,” said Cindy Julaton.
“Well, life goes on balik kami sa trabaho.One of our houses was burn. Still rebuilding hukay pa lang.. Mortgage still goes on nagbabayad pa rin kami ng mortgage kaya mahirap.”
The Fort Mac wildfire was the biggest mass evacuation and also the costliest natural disaster in Calanadian history. Many still fear another wildfire could occur.
Edmonton dentist Dr. Nimrod Montano, decided to hold a benefit Filipino concert, hoping to uplift the spirits of residents.
The main star of the event was Marcelito Pomoy.
“People here are depressed with all the things that happened, the economy is down, nawalan sila ng mga trabaho,” said Montano. “So talagang na touch din ako to do these things. And overwhelming support ng sponsors dito. I’m so blessed it turned out to be successful.”
Pomoy and his friends, Ate Gay and Anthony Rosaldo, said they wanted to share their talents with Fort Mac kababayans who have gone through hardships.
“Intong performance na ibibigay namin kung anung meron kami hindi namin pipigilan. Ibibigay namin lahat sa mga tao.”
The concert organizers say the event was a success in a variety of ways.
Most importantly, it achieved its main goal—to bring joy to kababayans who needed it most.