As of November 13, the organisation said it had committed nearly $24m to initiatives supporting people affected by the cyclone and other severe weather events across New Zealand.
“We are on track to have committed all the funds by February next year,” Red Cross general manager emergency management and international Sean Stewart told Hawke’s Bay Today.
“We’ve already spent $1m on the emergency response, distributed $14.7m in community grants, and have committed $6.3m in the Red Cross Home Bundles programme. The remainder has or will be committed in the next few months on resilience activities in affected communities.”
An earlier update in June revealed that Hawke’s Bay has received the lion’s share of the funds.
In August, Stewart said the region had received the most “because of the enormous and widespread clean-up effort required”, and due to the fact local organisations have been “very proactive in seeking funding to help their communities”.
It was also recently revealed that the fund itself had earned nearly $600,000 in interest, which Red Cross said will be directly put back into the fund as it draws to a close.
The fund was originally split into three parts, covering partnership grants, initial response and future planning.
The committed spend to the Partnership Grants Programme currently sits at $14.7m, with 166 grants to organisations approved.
Recipients of these grants are posted regularly on the NZ Red Cross website.
The Response and Recovery Programme has been allocated $7.3m, which included $6.3m for “home bundles” packages that provide new basic furniture and homewares to households in need, as well as money spent on psychological first aid training.
“We need to make it clear the New Zealand Red Cross Home Bundles programme will extend well into 2024 as unfortunately many families have not yet been able to move back into their homes or find other suitable accommodation,” Stewart said.
“So while these funds have been committed, they will not be ‘spent’ until the families are ready to receive their bundles.”
Not much has been revealed about the Resilience Investment Programme but Red Cross confirmed it was “well underway”, with nearly $2m in grants given to affected communities for emergency preparedness.
The organisation said a further $2m would be spent helping local emergency hubs get better equipped with items such as generators, satellite phones and radios, first aid supplies, emergency bedding, along with first aid and psychological first Aid training.
“Our resilience funding is being allocated equitably across all regions affected by the cyclone and floods, aligned with community needs,” Stewart said.
“We’ve been working with local government emergency management staff to establish where the needs are, and to help ensure local evacuation centres and community hubs are well equipped.”
Some funding will also go to replacing equipment used in the response by the organisation’s volunteer Disaster Welfare and Support Teams and building their capability in the affected areas.
The Red Cross update for November stated: “We’ll be distributing a total of around $6m in resilience funding from the New Zealand Disaster Fund over the next few months.”.
Stewart told Hawke’s Bay Today the region has so far had $550,000 in resilience grants approved and a significant amount of additional funding will be allocated in the next week.
Mitchell Hageman joined Hawke’s Bay Today in late January. From his Napier base, he writes regularly on social issues, arts and culture, and the community.