Donations of cash, blood flow in for appeal

THE generosity of the Northern Rivers was too much for Red Cross regional manager Vahideh Hosseini.

She wept yesterday as she told of locals wanting to give $50, $100 - even $1000 - to the Victoria bushfire appeal.

“It makes you have hope for humanity,” she said.

“When you sit in this position you don't know whether to cry or to be happy about humanity rising to the occasion.”

The Red Cross Lismore regional office has five phone lines. None of them stopped ringing yesterday.

Scores of people, including Kyogle's Geoff Densley, also dropped in to the Keen Street office with cash donations.

“What happened down there is horrific,” he said.

The Red Cross Blood Service nationally has been so overwhelmed by generous donors it did not have the facilities yesterday to process any more contributions. The organisation is encouraging people to make appointments to give blood for the coming days and weeks ahead.

By 3pm yesterday the Victorian Bushfire Fund had received more than $25.7 million from over 139,000 website and phone donations.

The appeal's website crashed yesterday afternoon, replaced with a message saying the level of traffic was currently three times greater than during the initial appeal after the 2004 tsunami.

“It's amazing,” Ms Hosseini said. “The generosity of the Australian people is an example to the rest of the world.”

She also made special mention of Red Cross volunteers who were quick to clear their schedules to lend a hand.

Northern Region Red Cross has established a stall for donations at Lismore Central, outside Woolworths. It will remain there today, Friday and each working day next week.

“ The people of the  Northern Rivers have  excelled themselves ”

Editorial, Page 11

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