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Cyclone Debbie: In case of emergency, activate grants

As Cyclone Debbie carves a path of destruction in north east Queensland, authorities there have activated quick response grants to swiftly assist those hit hard by the emergency.

(PICTURE: An emergency services officer monitors the situation after a family was left trapped by rising floodwaters at Sarabah, about 40km east of the Gold Coast. Image credit: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services)

We're taking a close interest in how the Queensland Community Recovery service rolls these grants out - within hours of a disaster being declared - after the AIGM recently profiled the service for the March issue of Grants Management Intelligence.

The service has seen the activation of an online portal for disaster victims, with the permanent quick response grant facility in readiness since December last year.

Queensland Community Recovery is able to distribute to individuals up to $900 for "immediate hardship" in as little as six hours after application.

There are two types of immediate hardship grants, covering:

  • essential needs, such as food, housing, clothing and medication, available for seven days after disaster strikes; and,

  • essential services, such as electricity, gas, water and sewerage cut off for more than five days.

Gail Wright from Community Recovery office said today it had already begun receiving applications through the portal after it was activated this morning.

You can read more about the Queensland emergency grants, and other types of quick response grants in the latest Grants Management Intelligence, free for AIGM members.

Meantime, the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) has announced a longer term grants project in the wake of the emergency.

It's Repair-Restore-Renew Fund will  support the medium to long-term recovery of rural and regional areas affected by Cyclone Debbie and the resultant flooding.

FRRR's "collaborative model" will see it raises funds now, to be distributed through community grants in 12-18 months.

FRRR chief Natalie Egleton said in a statement it would mean "means funds are available when the gaps are identified".

"Emergency services, governments and relief agencies do an amazing job during and immediately after a disaster, bringing people to safety and ensuring their immediate needs are met. But we know that disasters have a long-lasting impact and communities need support long after the focus has moved on to the next event: organisations still need rebuilding; people need support and community spirit needs restoring," she said.

She said it's collaborative appproach ensured donors pooled resource and avoiding duplication.

Funding would target such issues as minor infrastructure, arts programs, mental health, volunteer fatigue, training, leadership, resilience, communication and disaster prevention and mitigation, and would include projects that could not be funded anywhere else, or directed to groups not usually eligible for philanthropic funding.

More information: www.frrr.org.au/donate

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