WA digs deep with $2.75m for ex-tropical Cyclone Seroja victims in Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund
West Australians have already dug deep for ex-tropical Cyclone Seroja victims, raising $2.75 million less than 25 hours after the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund was activated.
Today dubbed “catastrophic”, the rare weather event took just a couple of hours to wreak havoc on the State’s Mid West coast, with tiny tourist town of Kalbarri and Northampton among the hardest hit.
The official State emergency fund was given an early $2m boost from WA Premier Mark McGowan on behalf of the State Government and a further $500,000 was pledge from the appeal itself.
Corporate donors have poured in $150,000 already, while the remaining funds are from private contributors.
Left with a hefty clean up effort and long road to recovery ahead, families have recounted their horror from the cyclone hell across the past two days but are still counting the cost of destruction.
Already insurers have received more than 700 claims, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.
Council chief executive officer Andrew Hall said it was still too early to place a dollar figure on the total losses with some severely impacted areas inaccessible.
Described by many as appearing like a “war zone”, the affected communities are today removing trees from roads and roofs and clearing housing and shed debris strewn across townships.
After the cyclone made landfall as a category three storm at about 8pm — brining 70kph gusts with it — more than 70 per cent of Kalbarri homes were damaged and 10 per cent considered destroyed.
More than 30,000 residents were left in the dark with power with telecommunications woes expected to continue throughout the week.
Households who have lost property will be eligible to apply for assistance to the relief fund under criteria and categories are developed in consultation with local government authorities and the State Recovery Coordinator.
The Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund was established in 1961, following the disastrous Dwellingup fires where 123 people were left homeless.
This year, the fund rallied Sandgropers to support those affected by the Wooroloo Fires with almost $16.5m raised.
In 2016 and 2015, the appeal helped those impacted by the Yarloop and Esperance bushfires.
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