Australia

The Red Cross has doubled its bushfire cash relief

The additional cash grants total $30.5 million, taking the complete amount available for bushfire relief to $61.5 million. Source: Australian Red Cross

The Australian Red Cross is doubling its bushfire assistance funds to more than $61 million.

The Australian Red Cross is doubling its funds to help people affected by bushfires with the charity saying more than $61 million will now be available as immediate relief.

The charity on Monday announced an additional $10,000 payment on top of the $10,000 already available for people who have lost their homes, $7500 for people who were hospitalised as a result of the fires and $5000 to repair structurally damaged homes.

The additional cash grants total $30.5 million, taking the complete amount available for bushfire relief to $61.5 million.

NSW RFS crews extinguish a fire that crossed the Monaro Highway, four kilometres north of Bredbo.
NSW RFS crews extinguish a fire that crossed the Monaro Highway, four kilometres north of Bredbo.
AAP

Australian Red Cross chief executive Judy Slatyer said the additional funds were made possible by the generosity of the community with $127 million 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," she said in a statement.

"This is an unfolding disaster and tragically even more communities need support as bushfires continue right now and throughout this summer."

Ms Slatyer said a remaining balance of about $42.5 million will be used for further immediate relief and longer term bushfire support.

The charity was criticised over its roll-out of bushfire donations in January by NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott and his frontbench colleague Andrew Constance who attacked them for being too slow in delivering the money to bushfire victims.

The charity has given out $14 million out of the $61.5 million which includes about 4600 grants of up to $20,000 for people who have lost their homes and $20,000 to families who have lost loved ones.

The Australian Red Cross defended its donation distribution saying the process takes time.

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