Rudd, Red Cross Launch Bushfire Appeal
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has pledged army support for the firefighters battling the bushfires that are ravaging Victoria.
Also, Rudd pledged AU$14 million in federal funds to assist those forced from their homes by the fires. Victoria Premier John Brumby is also reaching out to the public for donations via the newly-created 2009 Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund.
Rudd pledged the army would join efforts to overcome the bushfires, adding that special welfare payments would be made available to those in need.
"Hell and all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria in the last 24 hours," he told reporters in the fire-ravaged Yarra Valley.
"Many good people now lie dead. Many others lie injured.
"This is an appalling tragedy for Victoria but because of that it's an appalling tragedy for the nation," he said.
The Victorian Government and the Federal Government will donate $4 million to the appeal, in addition to the $10 million announced earlier today by the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
The money will go to people who were seriously injured or hospitalised, and to those who have lost their homes.
Eligible adults will receive $1,000, and an additional $400 payment will be made per child.
Victoria Premier John BrumbyIt is hell on earth. And lives are still at risk. I have never seen anything like this and hope to never see it again