Red Cross bushfire recovery program has spent 93 per cent of $242million donated after Black Summer fires

 Photo: Australian Red Cross.
Photo: Australian Red Cross.

An enormous $242million was raised when many across the globe donated to the Red Cross in the wake of the Black Summer bushfires more than 18 months ago.

In the recently released Australian Bushfire Report, the charity organisation says 93 per cent of the funds donated have now been disbursed or spent, with the remaining sum allocated for further assistance and longer term recovery.

The report states that $201m has been provided in direct cash assistance through grants to 6085 people, with some people receiving multiple grants, depending on their circumstances, and those hardest hit by the fires receiving amounts over $80,000.

More than one year after the fires, 245 people came forward in financial need for the first time.

How $224m has been spent from January 2020 to June 2021

The funding program has included grants for bereavement, injury, emergency, re-establishment, primary residence repairs and discretionary financial hardship situations.

The report states less than five per cent of donated dollars have been spent on administrative costs.

During the fires 49,718 people were supported at evacuation centres and over the phone ($5m).

After the fires and up until the end of June 2021, more than 40,100 people have been assisted with recovery through 1-1 and group support, training and workshops, information and referrals.

6085 people received financial assistance to meet urgent needs, make repairs, cover funeral or hospital costs, or find a safe place to live.

Communities in 46 local government areas have been covered by the Red Cross recovery program.

On the ground and online Red Cross has so far supported:

  • 32,039 people through 604 psychosocial support activities including individual support, community events, support groups, and anniversary events.
  • 2846 people were supported with 168 recovery training and workshops.
  • 975 people have participated in 29 community resilience workshops.

Meaningful support 

Kiah resident Annette Evelyn lost her home in the bushfires and said she received support from the Red Cross both in immediate response to the emergency and when rebuilding her home.

"They were absolutely fantastic, without that money, I wouldn't have been able to meet the council regulations to rebuild. It was a Godsend," Annette said.

"It was also good mentally, it took a lot of pressure off the worry of how I could manage."

Kiah resident Annette Evelyn said the support from the Red Cross since losing her home in the Black Summer fires has been fantastic. Photo: Leah Szanto

Kiah resident Annette Evelyn said the support from the Red Cross since losing her home in the Black Summer fires has been fantastic. Photo: Leah Szanto

Annette said the majority of the money she received came from the Red Cross, but there were also other helping hands.

The money allowed her to better prepare her new home for any future fires and disasters that might be of threat.

"I feel so much safer and more secure, if another disaster came, I would feel more able to defend my house. I am ok now," Annette said.

The delivery of the recovery grants over a longer period is something Annette views as necessary and positive.

"They were dotting their i's and crossing their t's to make sure it was being distributed where it was really needed," she said.

"My experience with the Red Cross was fantastic, I can't give them credit enough."

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