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Red Cross Victorian Bushfire 2009 Appeal to close in mid-April

Friday March 20, 2009

After a record breaking appeal and with the bushfires in Victoria now thankfully under control, Red Cross and the Victorian and Australian Governments thank the community for their generosity, recognising a number of events are still to be held. With this in mind we have decided to close the appeal on Friday 17th April 2009.

The Red Cross Victorian Bushfire 2009 Appeal has so far raised more than $250 million dollars with considerably more still to flow through into the fund.

'We have all been bowled over by the amazing generosity of the Australian people' said Robert Tickner, CEO of Australian Red Cross.

'The Victorian and Australian Governments kicked off the response with contributions of $2 million each. Around half a million donations have since been received with more expected from fundraising activities and events that are currently underway around the country' he said.

'That is truly a demonstration of the power of humanity'.

All the money raised in the Appeal is being transferred on a daily basis to a trust account set up by the Victorian government. A panel headed by distinguished former Victorian Governor John Landy is overseeing the allocation of funds which have already started flowing to those affected.

The work of the panel and the distribution of appeal funds complement the work of the Australian and Victorian governments and the work of the Reconstruction and Recovery Authority headed by Christine Nixon which will have the key role of driving intergovernmental co-ordination to help rebuild communities and to meet the needs of those affected by the fires.

The 2009 Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal will close to the public on April 17th, but people involved in fundraising events scheduled until that time will have until the end of June to send in the money collected or register their intent with us to transfer funds after that date. Anyone planning fundraising activities or events after April 17th should also contact Red Cross on 1800 811 700 before proceeding.

The immediate emergency may be over, but families and communities still face significant recovery challenges and Red Cross will continue to do all it can to help devastated communities and individuals get back to some semblance of daily routines.

Red Cross is providing practical advisory information for adults and children on how to cope with the aftermath of the emergency. We are visiting homes with our partner agencies to ensure people have access to services and support, and we are working with local communities to look at which Red Cross services may be best suited to help people into the long term.