Red Cross to decide appeal grants

8:56 pm on 2 March 2011

The Red Cross has announced it will pay bereavement grants of $10,000 to the families of those killed in the Christchurch earthquake.

The official death toll is 160.

As well as payments to the next of kin, an emergency and hardship grant will also be available to people without power, water or sewerage, and those who have been forced out of their homes.

Red Cross Appeal Commission chairman, Sir John Hansen, says cash is going to be vital in helping people rebuild their homes and lives.

The Red Cross has also announced that all funds previously raised for the September earthquake will be combined with the latest donations, giving a combined total of $22 million.

Thousands get hardship grant

More than 27,000 Christchurch residents have received a Civil Defence hardship grant since last Tuesday's quake.

Christchurch residents who need financial support for accommodation, food, clothing or bedding have been encouraged to apply for the grant at Work and Income service centres.

The regional commissioner for Social Development in Canterbury, Sue Rissman, says payments have averaged $160.

Ms Rissman says eight of the 11 Work and Income centres are open in Christchurch and there are mobile centres in the eastern suburbs and at the four welfare centres. She says queues have significantly decreased since Monday, with waiting times now no more than15 minutes.

In addition, Work and Income has approved quake-related wage subsidy payments to 14,000 people.