SYDNEY, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Survivors of Australia's worst ever bushfire have received compensation for their losses more than eight years after the disaster.
A law firm representing 4000 claimants who suffered economic loss and property damage in the Black Saturday bushfires, which killed 173 Victorians in 2009, confirmed that 379 million U.S. dollars would be paid this week.
The compensation is separate to personal injury money which saw 1800 claimants paid a total of 147 million U.S. dollars in 2016.
Chris Hobbs, who lost his house on Black Saturday, said that it was a relief to finally be getting the money.
"You have to get these things right," Hobbs told News Limited on Friday.
"Had I not got this settlement, I probably would have had to have sold and moved somewhere cheaper, which is the last thing at my age I wanted to do. I'm very happy here.
"The money just clears all those things like credit cards... I won't have to beg, borrow or whatever.
"Most people I know here are very happy with the outcome."
The fire at Kinglake alone, which was caused when a live power line hot a power pole and ignited nearby vegetation, resulted in 119 deaths, 1242 homes lost and a further 1084 homes damaged.
Forty people died in the fire at Murrundindi, which was triggered by a break in an electrical conductor at a saw mill, while and homes were lost.
Power company SP Ausnet and four other defendants, who were considered to be responsible for the fires, reached the settlements with the class action in July 2014.
Norm Beaman, a veteran television news reporter who lost his property, said he and his wife had waited "a hell of a long time" to be compensated.
He said that those who suffered from the fires were lucky that someone had been held responsible.
"It was a mammoth task, because (there were) 10,000 litigants, I think," Beaman told Fairfax Media on Friday.
"Some people who lost treasured, irreplaceable items could never be fully compensated for what they lost.
"We lost our neighbour and how do you ever compensate for that."