ABC – A joint fundraising effort by the Australian Red Cross and the ABC has raised more than $2 million (US$1.5 million) for Vanuatu’s Cyclone Pam relief appeal.
Since Friday, all ABC radio, television, and online networks encouraged Australians to donate to the Red Cross or their preferred charity supporting those affected by the category five storm.
Red Cross chief executive officer Robert Tickner said the appeal had raised a total of $4.2 million (US$3.3 million), with almost half coming since the ABC’s appeal.
“Funds raised through this effort means that not only can we help right now, but into the future as people rebuild their lives,” he said.
“Funds raised with the ABC’s help provide not only immediate relief – like tarpaulins and toolkits to help people put a roof over their heads – but also long-term support so that they can recover and rebuild, with stronger homes.
“It also means that we can provide safe drinking water to stave off diseases, and psychological support to traumatised families.”
The Red Cross was the first organisation to begin relief distributions in some of the worst-affected areas, and conducted rapid assessments across 15 islands.
An estimated 166,000 people were affected by Cyclone Pam, up to 90 per cent of homes were damaged and 65,000 people were left in desperate need for shelter.
ABC managing director Mark Scott said the amount raised was a great achievement considering it was only last Tuesday that the ABC executive decided to plan the appeal.
“I am delighted at how quickly and effectively our programming and production teams came together to deliver our #withVanuatu day on Friday,” he said.
“The broadcasts and fundraising will have made a real and practical impact.
“It was an example of the ABC at its best,” he said.