Over $2.5 million has already been raised after the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund was activated on Wednesday to help victims of the devastating Wooroloo bushfire, according to The West Australian.
The State Government contributed $2 million to the fund after it was confirmed that at least 71 homes have been lost in the blaze so far.
This was followed by more than $60,000 in donations within the first 30 minutes of the fund going live.
Perth’s Lord Mayor, Basil Zempilas, told The West Australian it was just the 50th time the fund had been activated in the past 60 years. The most recent appeal in 2016 raised almost $9 million for the Yarloop bushfire victims.
Mr Zempilas said the fund, only activated during the worst emergencies, had contributed $500,000 to the Wooroloo appeal.
“The board met this morning and (the fund) was activated immediately,” Mr Zempilas told The West Australian.
“Clearly there is distress in our community and this is what the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund was set up for.”
Mr Zempilas said the losses suffered by those in Perth’s hills is “heartbreaking” and “that’s why financial contributions from people in the community can be so useful to help them start to rebuild.”
“You can’t help but think of those people and what they are about to go through once the initial shock and adrenalin that must be running through their bodies starts to dissipate,” he said.
Mr Zempilas added that he expected West Australians would live up to “their reputation of being the most generous people anywhere in the world.”
This news comes as the Federal Government also announced on Wednesday that Western Australians affected by the devastating Wooroloo bushfires will be able to access disaster payments of up to $1000 per adult and $400 per child from 8am today.
Meanwhile, Telstra also announced an assistance package, including free phone calls, for customers who have lost services due to the fire.
The package includes mobile call diversion, a boost to data and free calls and reconnection support to those in Gidgegannup, Herne Hill, Upper Swan, Red Hill, Ellenbrook, Bullsbrook, Wundowie, Parkerville and Red Hill.
Perth Hills bushfire at ‘critical’ stage:
Fire authorities battling a massive bushfire threatening lives and homes in the Perth Hills say the situation is at a critical stage as strong south easterly winds push the blaze towards houses on the northern edge of the fire.
Incident controller Peter Sutton said the situation was extremely dangerous, with strong gusts fanning the flames and multiple breakouts ahead of the main fire.
“The situation has become quite critical as we speak,” he told ABC Radio. “We are getting reports of buildings under immediate threat. We’re having multiple breakouts on the northern flank of the fire.”
“We’re really at a critical point in time.”
He said homes were under threat in Clenton Road, Berry Road and Toodyay Road in Gidgegannup, in the Avon Ridge estate in Brigadoon and along the Great Northern Highway.
Wind gusts of up to 70 kilometres per hour were forecast to hit the area overnight, pushing the fire in a north-westerly direction.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) warned people in or around Clenton Road, Berry Road and Gidgegannup they were in immediate danger and it was too late to leave.