Red Cross overwhelmed by quake grant applications

8:14 pm on 25 March 2011

The Red Cross says there has been a surge in applications for emergency grants as a result of the Christchurch earthquake.

The 6.3-magnitude quake on 22 February caused severe damage to many parts of the city and loss of life.

The grant of between $500 to $1000 is available to people who were forced out of their homes or had no power or sewerage for at least seven days.

A total of, $47,315,695 has so far been donated to the Red Cross.

Some 37,000 applications have been made for assistance - 15,000 of them in the past week.

Its Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Commission chair Sir John Hansen says 2000 applications are being processed each day and expects to have worked through the backlog by next week.

New applications for the current grant closes on 11 April. A new grant to meet the need of long-term displaced people will then be set up.

Christchurch resident Cameron Mitchell says he has not heard from the Red Cross, despite applying for an emergency grant twice.

Mr Mitchell told Nine to Noon he took his young family out of the city two days after the quake and returned to his Heathcote home on Tuesday.

He has lost his job and has been forced to close down a business he ran from home.

The Mitchell family applied for a grant soon after the quake hit, then reapplied in case the first application had been lost.

"Several weeks later, we thought we'd just inquire as to what's happening with the grant because we did need financial help and no one had any answers."