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‘Hell or High Water’ Fundraiser aiding victims of B.C.’s devastating floods

Scores of musicians, entertainers and community leaders came together in Mission on Sunday to raise funds for communities in southwestern British Columbia devastated by November’s floods.

The Hell or High Water Disaster Relief fundraiser includes a 12-hour live-streamed telethon, with more than 100 musical performances and video messages from dignitaries, locals and musicians, along with a live concert at Mission’s Clarke Foundation Theatre.

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Displaced Merritt, B.C. residents concerned with flood recovery efforts

Funds from the event will go to families in the communities of Merritt, Lytton, Princeton and Abbotsford along with surrounding First Nations communities, all of which were hit by November’s disaster, just months after being ravaged by deadly wildfires.

“A group of us have been hearing all these stories. Our close friends and families have been affected by the floods. We’ve been hearing all the tragic instances of the floods, the financial burdens they’re going through, the mental and physical stress, so we said enough is enough,” co-organizer Greg Girard told Global News.

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Click to play video: 'Princeton mayor says flood recovery efforts have stalled'

Princeton mayor says flood recovery efforts have stalled

Princeton mayor says flood recovery efforts have stalled

Girard said the event had generated a “huge buzz” and was being aired in businesses across his home town of Merritt.

Donations have been pouring in from as far away as the U.S., France and Australia.

“Everyone is working tirelessly to make a difference,” he said.

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Co-organizer Kenny Hess, who operates Merritt’s Rockin’ River Music Festival, said he saw first-hand how the flood affected the community, after it caused extensive grounds to the festival grounds.

“We will be able to do the festival this year … but the financial pressure that’s been put on the owners of the land has been unbelievable,” he said.

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“They’re wildly impacted, there’s several million dollars of damage there.”

Click to play video: 'Provincial and federal governments promise $228 million for B.C. farmers'

Provincial and federal governments promise $228 million for B.C. farmers

Provincial and federal governments promise $228 million for B.C. farmers – Feb 7, 2022

Hess was spearheading the live concert element of the telethon, and said musicians were eager to sign up to participate.

“Musicians around the world have seen 100 per cent of their income disappear,” he said.

“But I will tell you with great pride that when I asked these musicians to come out and raise a million or two dollars for community that’s been devastated, they were absolutely glad to do it for nothing.”

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Hess said donors to the event can specifiy which community they’d like their money to go to, if they like.

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The funds will be distributed through The Rotary Club, with 100 per cent being directed to individuals directly affected by the floods.

“It’s not going to go to infrastructure. This is going to go to individuals. To farmers, to people who lost their homes, who are still living in hotel rooms,” he said.

“There’s so many people that fall through the cracks, people who didn’t have adequate insurance to cover their losses.”

The telethon runs until 10 p.m. on Sunday, with the live concert portion running from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Donations can be made here.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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