Rotary Helps Earthquake Victims in Christchurch
MARCH 17, 2011Felicity Anderson, Rotary InternationalIn response to the devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Christchurch on February 22, members of Rotary – one of the largest humanitarian service organizations in the world – are assisting victims of the disaster and mobilizing resources for long-term recovery.
As Christchurch and surrounding townships work to restore water, electricity and other services, Rotary members are coordinating with local authorities and international relief organizations to provide immediate assistance. Rotary is part of the NGO Disaster Relief Forum, which is assisting the Government’s Christchurch earthquake response.
William B Boyd, past president of Rotary International and a resident of Auckland, says the Christchurch earthquake is a national disaster.
“Yet with the help and support of Rotary members throughout the world, I know we will help rebuild the spirit of this city,” Mr Boyd says.
Examples of Rotary’s response:
Donations are being collected through the Rotary New Zealand Canterbury Earthquake Appeal www.rnzwcs.org. Within hours of the earthquake large donations were received from Rotary clubs and Rotary supporters around the world. More than $260,000 has been collected.
More than 100 Canterbury Rotarians whose homes, or families, have been affected by the earthquake are dedicating time to help people. Rotary is working with the Salvation Army to hand out food and water to those without and has organized donations of things like solar showers and dust masks.
Rotary clubs throughout New Zealand are hosting Christchurch residents traumatized by personal tragedies, the destruction and ongoing aftershocks so that they can rest before trying to rebuild their lives. The effort is being coordinated within Rotary and through welfare agencies.
Rotary in Southland has mobilized to get spare caravans and motor homes into Christchurch so that people have somewhere safer, clean and dry to live.
Rotary members are working with ShelterBox www.shelterbox.org, a UK-based disaster response organization supported by Rotary clubs worldwide, to provide shelter and essential equipment to those who have been displaced by the disaster. Approximately 120 boxes and tents have been sent to Auckland, New Zealand from where they will be dispatched to where they are most needed.