Judy Slatyer, CEO Australian Red Cross

I am writing to thank you and everyone at UBS Australia for your incredible contribution of $423,892 to our Australian Disaster Relief and Recovery efforts. The outpouring of support we’ve seen in response to the bushfires has been humbling.

Thank you for your donation which will go towards our bushfire grants, helping people cover urgent expenses and make choices that are right for them. As of 25 May, $102 million has been spent or disbursed. This includes $91 million paid in bushfire grants to 4,053 people, as well as the cost of our teams on the ground ($5M), where 2,800 Red Cross Emergency Personnel were deployed to support over 50,000 people in evacuation and relief centres and administrative support costs, reconciled quarterly and currently at less than 4c in the dollar for each dollar donated ($6M).

As you can imagine, these same communities and people are now dealing with the overlay of COVID-19 and the associated economic uncertainty and social anxiety. In response to this, Red Cross is adapting our approach to recovery programming, shifting our operations to provide support remotely and working closely with our partners to explore innovative and creative ways of bringing people together and providing support.

Your donation will also help us deliver community-based recovery programs over at least the next three years. Our experience from a century of disaster responses is that recovery takes time. The right support can go a long way, and that includes having someone to talk to, trauma counselling and mental health support, good social networks, access to information and services, and community connections. Our recovery programs address these needs in ways that are specific to the experiences of each community. Our Recovery Officers are working with bushfire survivors, community leaders, other service providers, and government to understand the pain points and challenges on the ground.