Through the evening and overnight, we have all watched the ongoing crisis in Fort McMurray and the municipality of Wood Buffalo caused by wildfires entering into the city and destroying homes and businesses. The University of Alberta has many students, alumni, senators, colleagues, and friends who live and work in the region and I am relieved to know that, as of the time of my writing this, there has been no injury or loss of life. However, we can all see that much has been lost and our thoughts are with all the citizens of the region, many of whom continue to be on the road and seeking shelter.
I spoke this morning to Tracy Edwards, Acting-President of Keyano College, to offer any support they need now or will need during the period of recovery. She is currently safe in one of the northern oilsands lodges, and at this point, believes that Keyano College facilities remain safe.
We have not yet received any formal requests for assistance from governments or other institutions.We have, however, alerted the Alberta Emergency Management Agency that we are ready to assist at any time. Vice-President (Facilities and Operations) Don Hickey has taken an inventory of available residence rooms here and we have placed our Reception Centre Team on standby. I have also connected directly with both the Minister and deputy Minister of Advanced Education.
We will continue to monitor the situation and work in coordination with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency. To our students, alumni, and friends from Fort McMurray, please know that the University of Alberta stands with you and will provide support as required.
David H. Turpin
President and Vice-Chancellor