Australian Red Cross releases bushfire report

The Australian Red Cross recently released their Australian Bushfire Report detailing their response to the Black Summer bushfires and how donations and funding have been used to help those affected.

The Australian Red Cross Australian Bushfires Report covers the period 1 January to 15 April 2020. It presents how the Australian Red Cross continues to provide financial assistance and other support to communities affected by all bushfires since July 2019.

As of 15 April, $200 million has been donated. The report details the areas in which these funds have been spent in 2020:

  • $5 million enabled the assistance to 27,500 people during the bushfires in 2020
  • $57 million has been distributed in emergency, repair, injury and bereavement grants
  • $11 million has been distributed so far in rebuild grants.

Additionally, the report identifies the areas in which the remaining funds will be allocated:

  • $22 million for grants for those who haven’t yet applied
  • $59 million to rebuild homes
  • $18 million to support community recovery over the next three years
  • $28 million for further unmet needs in bushfire-affected communities.

The report highlights the independent Bushfire Fund Advisory Panel that has been established with contributors drawing upon their professional and personal experience in disaster recovery. Additionally, lessons learnt from the 2009 Black Saturday fires are being applied. Learnings include: 

  • post traumatic stress and other mental health issues can persist for years after a disaster
  • strong community connections are vital
  • many people were not ready to start rebuilding until 1-4 years afterwards.

These findings, along with researchers and people with lived experience, has informed two significant investments in mid-to-long-term recovery.

Over the coming years, Australian Red Cross will focus on supporting more people to apply for immediate assistance, manage the combined impact of COVID-19 and bushfires, implement a tailored community recovery program and rebuild when people are ready.

Download the Australian Bushfires Report from the Australian Red Cross website.

More information on Community Recovery can be found in AIDR’s Community Recovery Handbook.