Melbourne: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday announced an additional 2 billion dollars over two years to a new agency to coordinate a national response to rebuild communities and livelihoods following the deadly bushfire crisis. The National Bushfire Recovery Agency, headed by former federal police chief Andrew Colvin, will help bushfire affected communities recover. The agency would be funded with an initial 2 billion Australian dollars (USD 1.38 billion) to ensure the families, farmers and business owners hit by the unprecedented bushfires would get the support they needed as they recover, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
"It's a long road ahead and we will be with these communities every step of the way as they rebuild," Morrison, who is facing widespread criticism in Australia for his handling of the crisis, said.
The bushfire crisis has taken a very heavy toll with more than 1,500 homes already lost throughout the course of this fire season, which has been running since September, according to the government.