Aussie PM com­mit­ting ex­tra $2B

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Nick Perry and Kristen Gelineau

Gov­ern­ment said it was will­ing to pay “what­ever it takes” to help with re­cov­ery from the deadly fires.

SYDNEY — Aus­tralia’s gov­ern­ment said Mon­day it was will­ing to pay “what­ever it takes” to help com­mu­ni­ties re­cover from deadly wild­fires that have rav­aged the coun­try.

Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son said the gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ting an ex­tra $1.4 bil­lion to­ward the re­cov­ery ef­fort in ad­di­tion to the tens of mil­lions of dol­lars that have al­ready been promised.

“The fires are still burn­ing. And they’ll be burn­ing for months to come,” Mor­ri­son said. “And so that’s why I out­lined today that this is an ini­tial, an ad­di­tional, in­vest­ment of $2 bil­lion. If more is needed and the cost is higher, then more will be pro­vided.”

Mor­ri­son’s an­nounce­ment of the funds, which will go to­ward re­build­ing towns and in­fra­struc­ture de­stroyed by the fires, came as the death toll from the dis­as­ter rose with the dis­cov­ery of a body in a re­mote part of New South Wales. The body is be­lieved to be that of a 71-year-old man who was last seen on New Year’s Eve mov­ing equip­ment on his prop­erty on the state’s south coast, po­lice said in a state­ment.

Po­lice found the body on Mon­day be­tween the prop­erty and a car, both of which had been de­stroyed by fire.

An­other per­son in south­ern New South Wales was re­ported miss­ing, New South Wales Premier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian said.

Na­tion­wide, at least 25 peo­ple have been killed and 2,000 homes de­stroyed by the blazes, which have so far scorched an area twice the size of the state of Mary­land.

Rain and cooler tem­per­a­tures on Mon­day were bring­ing some re­lief to com­mu­ni­ties bat­tling the fires. But the rain was also mak­ing it chal­leng­ing for fire crews to com­plete strate­gic burns as they tried to pre­pare for higher tem­per­a­tures that have been forecast for later in the week.

More than 135 fires were still burn­ing across New South Wales, in­clud­ing al­most 70 that were not con­tained.

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