Red Cross grant for quake families

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 13:53 28/05/2012

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Families of those killed in the February 2011 earthquake will receive another payment of $10,000 from the Red Cross.

The New Zealand Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Commission today approved the payment for bereaved families, in addition to an initial payment of $10,000 in March 2011.

Commission head Sir John Hansen said many of those who donated to the earthquake appeal gave money to help the families of those killed and injured.

"As well as dealing with damaged homes and ongoing aftershocks like many other Cantabrians, this group of people is also having to contend with the emotional and practical implications of losing a loved one.

"Feedback we have received indicates many are still struggling financially, especially those who have been left as the sole parent."

Last year 186 families received the bereaved person's grant.

Brian Kennedy, who lost his wife Faye in the CTV building's collapse, said the grant was a "very kind gesture."

"It is particularly generous of the Red Cross and all those people who donated money. I didn't expect this at all. "

He said while money didn't replace a loved one, it was a great help to those who were struggling - including those who may have lost the main income earner in the family.

"Although cash is just cash it's still a support for people, especially with winter coming up and extra expenses like heating."

Kennedy said he would discuss the grant with his family but would "probably take up the offer".

"I've been lucky that EQC have already fixed my house - so there are others in worse situations - but we will discuss it together."

Red Cross is also giving more help to the 23 people most seriously injured in the earthquakes, after an initial payment last year of $7500.

Almost $68 million in grants has been distributed to 77,308 people so far.

More than $115 million has been raised by the New Zealand Red Cross from the September and February earthquake appeals, including $14 million donated from overseas for specific purposes such as the long term recovery of Christchurch.

The remaining $33 million is earmarked for grants which are still open.

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- The Press

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