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Kenney visits Fort McMurray

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FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he toured the damage caused by flooding in Fort McMurray and the province is ready to help.

He and Environment Minister Jason Nixon went to northern Alberta on Monday afternoon.

The city's entire downtown is under an evacuation order due to high water caused by spring ice breakup on the Athabasca and Clearwater rivers.

Northern Lights Regional Health Centre and the nearby Grayling Terrace neighbourhood are exempt from the order.

More than 5,000 people have registered at two evacuation centres and the municipality says that number is expected to grow because about 12,000 people live in the areas being evacuated.

A second state of local emergency is in effect in Fort McMurray, on top of one declared last month because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kenney said during a news conference late Monday that the province will be there for Fort McMurray.

“We took a flight over the city and saw the impact. It's very significant,” he said.

“This, of course, adds to ... a community that has struggled with the fire five years ago, with several years of economic adversity and now with the coronavirus pandemic and now these floods.”

Kenney said he toured the area to offer support.

“We will provide all resources that are necessary,” he said.

Kenney said officials would work with the municipality to request the federal government's support if it's needed, but a formal request had yet to be made.

The federal government said it is also ready to help.

“We are closely monitoring the situation in Fort McMurray during this difficult time,” said an email statement from Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair.

“While no formal requests have been made, our government is ready to help when called upon.”

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