Australia's Victorian state gov't to set up floods appeal fund for victims

20:06, January 17, 2011      

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Australia's state of Victorian government on Monday announced to advance 5 million U.S. dollars to local councils to help with the clean-up, and will establish an appeal fund as the state faces a massive hit from record floods.

While Queensland is undergoing the worst floods in history, western Victorian town of Horsham, which is close to Wimmera River, is also facing the prospect of a one-in-200-year flood.

According to Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu, as well as the advance to local councils, the state government will give financial support to affected business which will involve 15,000 U. S. dollars grants for clean up and restoration.

Baillieu said the state government would establish a 1 million U.S. dollars tourism fund to support businesses in affected areas which are heavily dependent on tourism.

The Red Cross has set up a Victorian floods appeal which has been kicked with a 1 million U.S. dollars contribution by the state government.

Baillieu said he would also ask the federal government for money to support the victims of Victoria's floods, and to ask insurance companies to be generous when processing claims.

"I would like them to expedite claims and also they should be encouraged to err on the side of generosity," Baillieu told Australia Associated Press on Monday.

State Emergency Services (SES) on Monday warned communities in much of Victoria's north-west to prepare for more major flooding in the coming days.

Meanwhile, other parts of the state are cleaning up after record flooding last week.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is inspecting the damage in Echuca located in the state's north.

The State Emergency Services (SES) in last two days received 5, 500 calls for help, with 46 Victorian towns now affected by floodwaters.

So far this week, 14,000 properties across Victoria have been flooded and 3,500 people have been forced to abandon their homes.

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