Donations won't cover repair bill: Vinnies

Road signs blackened by the Currowan Fire that ripped through communities on the NSW South Coast (ABC News/Jack De Groot, St Vincent de Paul Society)

The more than $250 million donated to charities for bushfire relief in recent weeks is “probably not enough” to repair the damage caused by blazes across the country, the head of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW said. Source: ABC News.

By David Claughton and Ainslie Drewitt-Smith, ABC News

As fires continued to burn across New South Wales, Victoria and on Kangaroo Island, Vinnies NSW chief executive Jack De Groot said the amount of money given to help those affected had been overwhelming.

“We’re at $11.7 million of donations from the public for the Vinnies appeal in Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, Victoria and South Australia,” he said.

“I’ve never seen this sort of generosity for a bushfire appeal across multiple states. We’re only half way through a bushfire season, too, so I think people will continue to be very generous.”

But while the Morrison Government had also allocated $2 billion to the recovery effort, Mr De Groot said more would be needed to address the scale of destruction.

“Just driving through the South Coast of New South Wales and seeing every sign melted, roads damaged, then you need to rebuild all of the town halls, rebuild the schools that have been damaged,” he said.

“I think the money is probably not enough yet to cover the infrastructure that’s been lost.”

The Red Cross has been appointed as an external adviser to oversee the allocation and distribution of its $95 million in donations.

It is the second largest amount the charity has received for a cause, after the public donated $400 million in 2009 to help communities recover from Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria.

“The difficulty is once the fires go and people get back on with their lives, these communities [still] won’t be,” Red Cross director of Australian programs Noel Clement said.

“That’s why these funds are really important, because this will enable agencies like ours to stay there and be with communities.

“It’s impossible to say at this stage exactly what will be needed, but we absolutely know this has devastated a lot of communities and it will take communities years to recover.”

FULL STORY

Bushfire donations likely won't cover repair bill, St Vincent de Paul chief says (ABC News)

RELATED COVERAGE

Catholic Church plans national response to bushfires (ACBC Media Blog)

Catholics gear up for bushfire collections on Australia Day (The Catholic Leader

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