07/24/2013 02:19 EDT | Updated 09/23/2013 05:12 EDT

Red Cross raises $7.2M for Lac-Mégantic

The Red Cross announced today it has collected a total of $7.2 million for the community of Lac-Mégantic after a train derailed and caused several fatal explosions at the centre of town.

“This community has shown that nothing is insurmountable,” said Pascal Mathieu, acting head of the Quebec Red Cross chapter.

“We have been privileged to witness the resilience of humans.”

He said the Red Cross is now going to focus spending on long-term development in the community.

He said the first phase of work focused on helping people in immediate need, but now the funds will be geared towards the future of the community.

Mathieu said money will go towards temporary housing and moving costs, helping to pay for the education of children who lost parents, and towards employees and entrepreneurs who lost their businesses in the blasts.

In order to help make decisions about how the money will be spent, a consultation committee has been created.

The team of people will include the mayor of Lac-Mégantic as well as representatives from the local commerce board, the school board, the Lac-Mégantic employment centre, the Quebec Public Security ministry and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Mathieu says the team will stay on the ground in Lac-Mégantic for as long as they can afford it.