Fires

Kaiser commits $1.65 million to aid recovery from recent California wildfires

‘We’re the new homeless.’ This is what the Camp Fire evacuation shelter in Gridley looks like

Butte County Fairgrounds has been acting as a Red Cross evacuation center since the Camp Fire in Paradise began. It is currently housing approximately 100 people per night, but has the capacity to house hundreds more as of Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018.
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Butte County Fairgrounds has been acting as a Red Cross evacuation center since the Camp Fire in Paradise began. It is currently housing approximately 100 people per night, but has the capacity to house hundreds more as of Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018.

Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest managed care organization, announced Tuesday that it is donating $1.65 million to California communities affected by the recent wildfires in Butte County, Los Angeles County and Ventura County.

“We are deeply saddened to see how these fires have hurt our communities across California,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, Kaiser’s senior vice president and chief community health officer. “It is times like these when Kaiser Permanente leans in to fulfill our commitment to the health of our communities we serve, leveraging our resources, expertise and leadership in community health.”

Oakland-based Kaiser said up to $1 million will go to the American Red Cross and other organizations working to assist survivors in recovering from the Camp Fire in Butte County, the deadliest wildfire in state history. Kaiser, like other local health care companies, also has sent medical personnel to care for displaced residents living in shelters.

“The Red Cross is grateful for the commitment of Kaiser Permanente whose generosity helps provide shelter, food and comfort for people affected by the devastating wildfires in California,” said Don Herring, the relief organization’s chief development officer.

The United Way of Greater Los Angeles will receive $500,000 to help low-income residents with immediate relief and long-term recovery efforts November’s Woolsey Fire, which prompted the evacuation of nearly 300,000 people.

The remaining $150,000 will go to Ventura County Community Foundation where Kaiser set aside $50,000 to ensure the foundation has the capacity to manage the relief effort. The foundation will use the other $100,000 to provide shelter and long-term housing, financial and rental assistance, legal services, health care and more for those affected by the Woolsey and Hill fires in Southern California.

Over the next two months, Kaiser will be offering crisis support groups to community residents affected by either the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks or the wildfires.

Kaiser’s news release said the company has committed more than $8 million in 2017 and 2018 to support relief and recovery efforts, including mental health services, for individuals affected by natural disasters in California, the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico.

Other local health organizations also have made donations to assist wildfire survivors. That includes Sutter Health, which has donated $150,000 to recovery efforts in the Camp, Carr and Mendocino Complex fires. In 2017 and 2018, Sutter donated $650,000 to groups assisting U.S. residents to recover from natural disasters.

Although a wildfire may be contained, areas ravaged by fire leave many dangers behind. In this video, emergency officials explain what Paradise and other Butte County residents should keep in mind as they return to their homes in the Camp Fire zone.

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