Red Cross grant for quake families

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 13:15 28/05/2012

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Families of people killed in the February 2011 earthquake will each 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 last year.

Commission head Sir John Hansen said many people who donated to the 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,'' he said.

"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 wife Faye in the Canterbury Television 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,'' he said. ''I didn't expect this at all. "

He said that 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 [Eathquake Commission] have already fixed my house, so there are others in worse situations, but we will discuss it together,'' he said. 

The 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 $115m has been raised by the New Zealand Red Cross from the September 2010 and February 2011 quake appeals, including $14m donated from overseas for specific purposes such as the long-term recovery of Christchurch.

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

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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