SACWA's emergency fund starting to dry up

SACWA's emergency fund starting to dry up

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Urgent plea: SACWA treasurer Sharyn Muller said they had funds for about five weeks of emergency aid.

Urgent plea: SACWA treasurer Sharyn Muller said they had funds for about five weeks of emergency aid.

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With Christmas naturally a tough time for budgets, the SA Country Women's Association has seen an increased number of the state's farmers applying for payouts from its Emergency Aid fund - but the fund's balance is running low.

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With Christmas naturally a tough time for budgets, the SA Country Women's Association has seen an increased number of the state's farmers applying for payouts from its Emergency Aid fund.

But the fund's balance is quickly drying up.

Since August last year, nearly 820 drought-stricken families across the state have been paid out up to $3000 each, with the money being used for household expenses, such as food, utilities, clothing and shelter.

SACWA treasurer Sharyn Muller said it was predicted that the number of applications would increase until the new year.

The past couple of weeks we've had 15 to 20 applications a week, prior to that we were getting only six a week. - SHARYN MULLER

"Because crops are not looking the way people would hope, and lots of end-of-year bills are coming in for farms, that's going to put an extra strain on household expenses," she said.

"The past couple of weeks we've had 15 to 20 applications a week, prior to that we were getting only six a week."

About $200,000 remains in the Emergency Aid Fund, plus Coles was donating a further $150,000 this week, but Ms Muller said these funds would not last long.

"In one morning this week, I put through $27,000 worth of payments," she said.

"A lot of applications are second and third round applications, so these are people into their third and fourth year of drought.

"By the time the Coles donation comes through, we'll have about $320,000, our grants are $3000, so it means we can help 106 families.

"You divide that by 20 families paid out a week, and that's only five weeks worth of money."

RELATED READING: State govt drought aid welcomed, but concerns remain

Applications have been received from farmers across the state, with Ms Muller saying a large number of payouts had been given to farmers in the Mid North, and pastoral regions.

"It's a dustbowl up there," she said.

"We're here to help people in an emergency, and these people are desperate, so we have to do what we can to try to mitigate (the effects of drought).

Ms Muller was grateful for the support of the community so far, and urged the public to continue to donate.

She also said the push was on for the federal government to provide funding to the CWA of Australia, with SACWA to receive a share of that funding.

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