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Red Cross Payments Begin To Flood Victims

22 April 2004

Red Cross Payments Begin To 1650 Flood-Hit Kiwi Families

New Zealand Red Cross (NZRC) and Federated Farmers has begun making payments to more than 1650 flood-hit families and households in the lower North Island and upper South Island, following the devastating floods that hit the country in February.

In total, NZRC is distributing over $4.5 million to affected people from its Flood Appeal Fund.

NZRC Director General, Flora Gilkison, said the recipients included more than 1030 farmers and 623 households.

"Every one of the families that applied for funds had a heartfelt tale of great personal loss to tell," she said.

"Through the generosity of fellow New Zealanders, we are delighted to be able to offer encouragement to help people get their lives going again."

Recipients range throughout the lower North Island, including Wellington, Hutt Valley, Wairarapa, central Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Wanganui, South Taranaki, and in the upper South Island, from Picton.

The Appeal Fund attracted more than $4.5 million in donations, with contributions from TVNZ's Holmes programme, the Manawatu-Wanaganui Disaster Relief Trust, Federated Farmers, the Fielding and District Relief Fund, ANZ and National Banks, Progressive Enterprises, Christchurch City Council, The Warehouse, a range of other councils and businesses, and through public donations.

Mrs Gilkison said NZRC deducted no marketing or administration costs from the appeal, in order to ensure every dollar donated went to those people who most need it.

She said the Red Cross funds are being offered as an 'encouragement ' payment, for affected people to use in the best way they see fit for their home, farm or family. They are not intended as compensation for their loss.

The disbursement of the funds were overseen by a NZRC-appointed trust, headed by Sir Ron Trotter, in co-ordination with a range of other agencies including MAF, Local Councils and Federated Farmers.

Payments have been made on a graduated scale from up to 10% of a farmer's loss, if damage was under $10,000, or on a graduated scale from $1000 up to $7000 for those whose losses were over $150,000. Affected home occupiers grants were also made on a graduated scale from $500 up to $2000 for those whose homes were effectively written off. The details of the individual payments are confidential to the recipients.

Of the applications received, farmers indicated total losses of more than $74 million, and 440 home occupiers indicated they were still unable to return to their homes.

Mrs Gilkison said NZRC has kept some residual funds aside, in case any further applications come to light. Some existing applications are also still to be verified.


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