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Aussies Say Red Cross Ripping Off Fire Victims

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Aussies Say Red Cross Ripping Off Fire Victims

Aussies Say Red Cross Ripping Off Fire Victims
January 31
18:26 2020

As deadly wildfires continue to rage across the Australian continent, residents say that only a small amount – less than one-third – of their Red Cross donations are being used to help the people who desperately need humanitarian aid.

Since its founding by Clara Barton on May 21, 1881, the Red Cross has been a high-profile relief organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and disaster preparedness education in the United States and abroad. The American Red Cross claims it responds to an emergency every eight minutes.

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The annual Australian fire season began in late July 2019 and is responsible for at least 28 human deaths in the former British colony. More than 3,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged in the state of New South Wales (NSW). The lives of up to one billion animals – birds, reptiles, and mammals other than bats – may be at risk, according to Christopher Dickman, an ecologist at the University of Sydney.

A heatwave and years-long drought have made the dire situation in the Land Downunder even worse.

Many Americans may remember shocking images from December 2019 that showed panicked Australians and visitors in popular tourist spots on the country’s southeast coast crowding onto local beaches to escape the life-threatening conflagrations all around them.

On the last day of last year, Tuesday, December 31, people in Mallacoota, a town situated on the easternmost coast of the state of Victoria where families go camping, reported that about 4,000 people had sought refuge on the beaches with “no way in or out.” The smoke in the sky was so thick it blotted out the sun.

NSW and Victoria have suffered significant losses from the out-of-control bushfires. Large metropolitan areas there, including Melbourne and Sidney, have reported home damage in the outer suburbs with choking smoke plumes blowing over the city centers. The air quality in Sydney (on the eastern coast of NSW) measured an “unprecedented” 11 times above the “hazardous” level.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph journalist Angira Bharadwaj revealed in mid-January that, having been in “close communication with Red Cross representatives,” she was “not confident” that 100 percent of all donations will be funneled to help victims of Australia’s wildfires.

The Red Cross has formally denied accusations it is stashing the cash received as bushfire relief donations for future emergencies. The charitable organization maintains that all of the money will be spent this fiscal year.

More than $95 million has been paid to the Australian Red Cross in response to the unending bushfires there. Only $30 million of that sum will be disbursed to fire victims. Ben Fordham hosts Sydney’s premier drivetime radio show and uploaded incredible footage from the coastal town of Dunmore’s Rural Fire Service that shows just how fast fire can take over an area. Fordham said on-air that “people don’t donate [specifically] to the bushfire victims so the charity can put most of it in the bank for another day.”

Noel Clement, the Red Cross Director of Australian services, was quick to rebut the charges of stockpiling money people thought would go to help fire victims:

“There is no intention to place this money in the bank. This is to support our work in the community. This is not a short term thing for us, this is a long term commitment to working with these communities.”

Poppy Brown directs Red Cross activities in NSW and ACT (Australian Capital Territory, a federal territory that includes the country’s capital city of Canberra). The charitable leader assured everyone that “the money that we’re raising this year will be spent on the disaster season this year.”

But former Premier of Victoria Jeff Kennett has warned that the $500 million in bushfire donations will go astray unless the government sets up a special trust fund to allegate the money. Kennett has already established a trust fund to help families of volunteer firefighters killed in Australia’s bushfire crisis that he will oversee.

“There’s a lot of people who need the money now. The government needs to work out that when people give money it’s got to be put into a fund that can be accountable, where it can be audited and where, in fact, the administrative costs can be reviewed to ensure that the intent of the donor is actually honored.”

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1 Comment

  1. Kmbold
    Kmbold February 01, 22:33

    Some things never change.

    Reply to this comment

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