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Canadian Primate expresses shock at devastation caused by wildfires

09 July 2021

ALAMY STOCK PHOTO/REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

A wildfire burns outside Lytton, British Columbia, Canada on 1 July

A wildfire burns outside Lytton, British Columbia, Canada on 1 July

THE Primate of Canada, Dr Linda Nicholls, has expressed “disbelief and sadness” after the village of Lytton was burnt to the ground by wildfires last week, after recording the country’s highest ever temperature.

In a letter to the Territory of the People, the diocese in which the wildfires occurred, sent on Thursday of last week, Dr Nicholls said that “the destruction of the town and the churches is agonizing to hear. Please know that you are surrounded by Anglicans across Canada praying for and with you. I know their love will pour out in practical ways as well as you seek to rebuild in the months ahead.”

She enclosed with the letter a donation from the Primates’ Discretionary Fund for “whatever emergency needs are foremost”.

An open letter signed by the Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon, the Most Revd Lynne Mc­­Naughton, and sent on behalf of the Interim Steer­­ing Committee of the Territory of the People, on Thursday of last week, said: “We are aware that many have lost homes and businesses, and are displaced into other communities. We don’t know the whole extent of the damage, but it is widespread and devastating.”

At least two people are known to have died, and fires continue to burn in the area. Lytton is one of the lar­­gest Nlaka’pamux communities.

The letter concluded: “We want to assure the mem­­bers of the Nlaka’pamux Nation and the village of Lytton that the Territory of the People walks together with all who the fire has so forcefully impacted.”

A second open letter, published last Friday, said: “Substantial contributions have been received from the Primate’s Discretionary Fund, the Brothers with the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, the Anglican Diocese of Niagara, and numerous private donations.”

Lytton last week recorded the country’s highest ever temperature: 49.6ºC.

High temperatures have been recorded across swaths of Canada as the country experiences a heat­­wave that is thought to have killed more than 700 people.

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