An Australian man who recently lost his home in the Northern New South Wales bushfires has said his $1 million lottery win on Wednesday couldn’t have come at a better time, declaring it a “miracle”.
The Redlands resident, who has chosen to remain anonymous, said he would use the cash winnings to rebuild the family home that wasn’t insured when it was destroyed in the ravaging fires that crept up over the New South Wales/Queensland border.
When a lottery company Golden Casket representative broke the news to the man, he emotionally said, “This really has come at the most incredible time.
“All that was left of the home was a few charred teacups. We didn’t know if we would ever be able to rebuild but now we definitely can. This is amazing. I can’t get over it.”
While the man from Mount Cotton in Queensland held the only division one winning entry nationally in Monday and Wednesday Gold Lotto draw 3937, other Australians are not so fortunate as they face the devastating aftermath of the country’s worst bushfire season.
On Thursday the NSW Rural Fire Service confirmed 1,870 homes had been destroyed, with a further 753 damaged.
New South Wales on Thursday announced new funds of A$1 billion to rebuild infrastructure and communities in the state affected by the bushfire.
“We don’t want simply to rebuild the communities, we want them to thrive. And this $1 billion investment will do just that,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in a briefing.
The Bureau of Meteorology said it saw no sign of cooler weather or significant rainfall in the next few months, adding that 2019 was the country’s hottest and driest on record.
A warning for residents of Victoria’s northeastern region to leave after fires escalated overnight was downgraded to “wait and watch” as authorities monitored conditions. A town on Kangaroo Island, which was ravaged by the fires, was being evacuated over fears bushfires still burning there may escalate
Australia’s bushfire season started earlier than normal following a three-year drought that has left much of the country’s bush land vulnerable to fires.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday urged foreign tourists not to be deterred by deadly bushfires, fearing holiday-makers staying away could hurt the economy, as some normally crowded resorts have already turned into ghost towns.
Celebrities who have donated to firefighting services and wildlife shelters include Elton John and Chris Hemsworth with $1 million each, as well as billionaire James Packer ($5 million), singer Pink ($500,000) and comedian Celeste Barber who has helped raise over $40 million through her fundraising page.
With files from Reuters.