Fri, February 13, 2009
World > Asia-Pacific > Deadly bushfire in Australia

Australian Red Cross to supply over $30 mln to bushfire victims

2009-02-12 08:59:28 GMT2009-02-12 16:59:28 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MELBOURNE, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Australian Red Cross chief said that it will supply 48 million Australian dollars (about 31.8 U.S. dollars), to the Victorian fire victims, Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Thursday.

"It's gone up now to 48.6 million Australian dollars and of course growing," Australian Red Cross chief Robert Tickner said, adding "on top of that there are very significant corporate donations."

Federal Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said that the emergency payments of 1,000 Australian dollars (about 654.6 U.S. dollars) for every adult and 400 Australian dollars (about 261.8 U.S. dollars) for each child had already reached bushfire victims.

"A lot of people have received their money. More than 2,000 people have received money from both the state department and from Centrelink," Macklin said.

For the first day since Saturday's inferno, the official death toll of the worst bushfire in Australian history did not rise. It stood at 181, though officials said it would exceed 200.

The Sydney Morning Herald also reported on Thursday that celebrity-studded fund-raisers would be held in New York and Los Angeles on the weekend to support victims of the Victorian bushfires.

The money raised in the events would direct go to the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.

CANBERRA, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Australian police confirmed on Tuesday that 173 people have died in the bushfires across the state of Victoria.

The toll has risen by seven early Tuesday morning with three more bodies found at the wiped-out town pf Marysville, taking the toll there to 15, and four more bodies at Strathewen where the toll there is now 30. Full story

CANBERRA, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- As Australia is combating raging bushfires in Victoria that has claimed more than 181 lives and destroyed entire towns, a number of countries have sent messages of support and sympathy and offers a helping hand.

A specialist New Zealand fire-fighting helicopter traveled to Australia on Wednesday. The helicopter is equipped with a 100-footsteel cable long-line which allows the 5,000-liter bucket to be put into water sources while the helicopter remains well above any obstacles. Full story

CANBERRA, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd urged insurance companies to act quickly and professionally when dealing with claims from victims of the Victorian bushfire, Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Thursday.

Early estimates put the damages bill to property at more than 500 million Australian dollars (about 327.3 million U.S. dollars),but analysts said the broader costs could exceed 2 billion Australian dollars (about 1.3 billion U.S. dollars), when lost crops and the destruction of public infrastructure was taken into account.

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