O shawa, Ontario, Canada ... [ANN] In the wake of the ice storm that hit Canada last week, Seventh-day Adventists are providing emergency assistance in what news media are describing as "the most expensive and costliest natural disaster in the history of Canada." Damage caused by the ice storm is expected to top $700 million.

With hundreds of thousands without power due to broken electricity cables, the risk to life and health is great.

"We are mobilizing a response to the extensive ice storm that has imposed severe, life-threatening conditions across much of eastern Canada," says Monte Sahlin, Vice-President for North America for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).

"Adventist Community Services (ACS) is opening emergency shelters in Adventist churches and schools to care for and feed families without heat in their homes," reports Nadia Bettencourt, National Program Director for ADRA Canada.

Emergency shelters are also being set up in other locations with the assistance of the military who are providing electrical generators, according to Bettencourt.

In a parallel program, ACS in the northeastern United States are mobilizing assistance under the supervision of director Carolyn Morgan to those affected by the same ice storm.

Responding to a request from New York’s governor, ACS is delivering blankets, warm coats and bottled water for distribution at emergency centers in the region declared a disaster area by U.S. President Clinton. [Jonathan Gallagher]