The scope of the donations to Red Cross, including the $375,000 raised by the mortgage and finance industry over the last two weeks, has allowed the organisation to add to its ongoing relief efforts that have been in effect since the beginning of summer.
Red Cross has doubled its emergency cash grant to $10,000 for those who have lost their homes and will provide an initial $20,000 bereavement payment to the families of those who lost a loved one in the fire, to help address their needs during this difficult time, including funeral and related expenses.
Nearly 500 cash grants have been approved since last week.
“Because of the incredible generosity of the Australian community and beyond, we are able to provide more emergency funds to people whose lives have been devastated by these bushfires,” said Judy Slatyer, Australian Red Cross CEO.
“We are working hard to ensure the generous donations from the Australian community and others around the world are used in the best way possible to help people and communities cope with the fires and recover well.
“Emergency cash grants are just the start of what will be a long journey for these people. We will continue to adapt and evolve our plan to support people and communities and will make further announcements as new supports are provided.”
People from around the world have donated more than $95m to Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery.
Later this week, Red Cross will appoint external advisors to its Fund Advisory Panel, to oversee the allocation and distribution of funds to both meet the immediate needs and to support the long term recovery of impacted communities.
The donated funds have gone to providing psychological first aid and other essentials such as food, water and relief supplies.
“Our volunteers and staff are working to support communities impacted during the fires, to process grant applications as they come in and to commence recovery programs in affected communities,” said Slatyer.
“Once we have the basic information needed to approve a grant, payment is made within a few days.”
The organisation has committed to investing in tailored recovery programs in the affected communities for at least the next three years in coordination with government and community agencies.
“Our recovery programs will include mental health and wellbeing, support for children and people who are vulnerable, community support events and more,” said Slatyer.
“It will be guided by consultations with affected communities and our own extensive experience in disaster recovery.”
Contribute to the industry's bushfire relief fund here