New Zealand

Red Cross Emergency and Hardship Grant payments exceed $35million

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Over $35 million has been paid out to applicants for the Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Commission emergency and hardship grant.

Chair of the Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Commission Sir John Hansen confirmed that 40,216 applications have been processed in a month with the remainder of applications on track. The grant closes on Monday 11 April.

"The grants team are concentrating their efforts on clearing the exceptions pile, which involves diligently working through each application on a case by case basis. Many of the exceptions forms lack basic information such as telephone numbers, correct bank details or requires cross referencing. We have received multiple applications from the same household which have unfortunately made the payment process slower and more complex.

"We have now processed over 40,000 emergency and hardship grant applications. More than $51 million has been donated by generous Kiwis, businesses and from overseas to help those affected by the February earthquake", said Sir John Hansen.

The New Zealand Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Appeal Emergency and Hardship Grant closes on Monday, 11 April 2011. The Commission is in the process of evaluating the appeal fund and set to confirm the grants that will be operating after 11 April.

People affected by loss of water, electricity or sewage for more than seven days, who have not applied for the emergency and hardship grant should do so before the end of the week at the dedicated website www.redcrosseqgrants.org.nz . Residents should contact the helpline on 0800 754 726 if they need support.

People in New Zealand can donate to the appeal via www.redcross.org.nz or make a secure credit card donation on 0800 272 006 or text a message to 4419 to donate $3.

For media enquiries on the Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Commission and grants, please contact: Jacqui McCabe on 021 251 1801 or 03 332 0358