Red Cross has announced further immediate assistance for fire-affected individuals in financial hardship, including additional cash grants for people who have lost their homes, new grants for people who were hospitalised due to the fires and for home owners whose properties have suffered significant structural damage.
These grants more than double existing immediate financial assistance, with the Red Cross Bushfire Advisory Panel allocating a further $30.5 million, with a new total of $61.5 million now available for immediate cash relief. Currently, around $1 million a day is being distributed to people impacted by the fires.
Red Cross volunteers and staff continue working all hours, providing practical and emotional support, relief supplies, grant assessments and connecting people to vital support services.
“Thanks to the incredible and ongoing generosity of the Australian community we are able to provide even more immediate financial assistance to people whose lives have been devastated by these bushfires,” Australian Red Cross Chief Executive Officer Judy Slatyer said. $127 million has been donated since July 2019.
“We’re allocating these funds based on our on-the-ground contact with affected communities, with those most impacted people being our immediate priority. This is an unfolding disaster and tragically even more communities need support as bushfires continue right now and throughout this summer. ”
This extra financial assistance announced today includes:
- An additional $10,000 payment to support people whose homes were destroyed and require further assistance, extending the total amount available to $20,000, with a total allocation of $50 million.
- $7,500 for people who were hospitalised as a result of the fires, with grants helping to cover out of pocket medical-related and other expenses up to a total allocation of $500,000.
- $5,000 for home owners whose properties have been structurally damaged and require repair to make them safe for people to live in, up to an allocation of $10 million.
“Our experience in every disaster shows that new needs emerge over time. As these needs become apparent, we will continue to develop and release further assistance measures in consultation with the communities affected by these tragic bushfires,” Ms Slatyer said.
Red Cross has already committed $18 million to fund tailored recovery programs in the affected communities for at least the next three years in coordination with communities, government and community agencies. A further $5 million is allocated to fund Red Cross emergency teams of staff and volunteers to respond to emergencies, helping people with practical and emotional support, so far this year this has been mainly in the bushfires affected areas around the country.
There remains a balance of around $42.5 million that will be used for further immediate and longer term bushfire support. We continue to work hard to keep administration costs as low as possible.
Anne Leadbeater, a member of the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Advisory Panel, said that it would be a long road ahead for these communities and the agencies working with them. “People need our help now, and they will need help and support long into the future if they are going to be able to live a life they value once again.”