MICKY Arison, chairman of Carnival Corporation, has pledged $1.5m through his family foundation to focus on the specific back-to-school needs of children badly affected by Australia’s disastrous bushfire season.

UNICEF Australia, a trusted champion for children, will receive $1.2m of the contribution from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation to provide essential and targeted support for hundreds of children in families whose lives have been thrown into turmoil in the current bushfire emergency.

The family foundation will also support a separate project to help Australia’s unique wildlife as a result of the fires.

The family foundation’s contribution is in addition to a $350,000 donation from Carnival Australia to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief Andy Recovery Fund on behalf of its cruise lines, P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Seabourn and Holland America Line, along with the corporation’s philanthropic arm, the Carnival Foundation.

P&O Cruises Australia and its guest-funded P&O Pacific Partnership has also donated $50,000 to St Vincent de Paul’s bushfire relief efforts in NSW and QLD.

This takes donations to bushfire relief overall to a total of $1.9m.

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Carnival Australia President Sture Myrmell said, “There are hundreds of children who face the start of the school year in Australia having lost everything in this rolling natural disaster”.

UNICEF Australia CEO Tony Stuart said the Arison family’s welcome donation will provide timely and practical support for the specific back-to-school needs of children.

“In two short weeks, children will be heading back to school – but for some of the most fire-affected children, this will be a challenge having lost all their possessions,” Mr Stuart said.

“Getting them back to school is only the start.  Many children will be deeply affected by trauma and their ability to learn and fully participate will hinge on whether they are adequately supported to heal and recover.”

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