$11 Million In Bushfires Donations Won’t Go To Victims
Millions have poured in from across the world to help relieve Australia’s bushfire plight – however, the director of the Australian Red Cross says around 10% of the donations won’t go to the country’s victims.
Infernos have been wreaking havoc Down Under, with more than 17.9 million acres burned so far across the six states, topping the land affected by the Amazon rainforest blazes last year. In New South Wales (NSW) alone, 1,588 homes have been destroyed and more than 650 damaged.
Celebrities, billionaires, CEOs and everyday folks have been chipping into the bushfire relief fund, racking up around $115 million – but the Australian Red Cross’s director, Noel Clements, says 10% of every dollar will go towards ‘administration’.
The apparent rigmarole around distributing the funds is directly affecting those amidst the chaos, like this NSW resident below:
Facing accusations that money accrued through donations was being stockpiled for future disasters, Clements said the money was actively being doled out via grants, and that the $10 million assigned to administrative costs wasn’t set to be fully spent.
While appearing on The Today Show, Clements said:
So that’s to basically do the work we are doing at the moment in processing the applications. It is to make sure we are meeting legal requirements, to make sure we are actually able to process applications as quickly as we can. We have teams calling people to support them with those applications, it is that essential cost.
This is for bushfires, this is not holding back for any other disasters. Keep in mind there are people who will need to rebuild and there are people who will need support for that, we want funds to be able to do that.
While the Red Cross grants are sizeable, ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 payments for those affected by the fires, only 700 have been approved thus far. The charity claims $30 million has been assigned to its Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund – but residents aren’t so sure.
Robert Gorringe, from Ulmarra in northern NSW, told 7News:
They made a lot of promises that they’re going to do this, that and other, [but] I’ve received nothing, I have no idea where the money is going.
To best distribute the funds, the Red Cross released a statement explaining the donations would be funnelled out via ‘tailored recovery programs’ to communities over the next three years.
However, Bega MP Andrew Constance, the minister for Transport and Roads, took aim at the charity’s hesitation. ‘Australians have donated now so that people get help now, not in three years,’ he said, as per the MailOnline.
Since September, 29 people have died as a result of the bushfires, including several volunteer firefighters losing their lives on the front line. More than a billion animals are also estimated to have died in New South Wales, with countless more lost across the rest of the country.
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