RIBI response to 2004 Tsunami Disaster

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami is, arguably, the worst natural disaster to strike our planet in the one hundred years of Rotary’s existence.


Rotary GB&I President Gordon McNally firmly believes that the response from Rotary within Rotary GB&I is, arguably, one of the finest moments in our history.
Rotary received the Following Message from Frank Lund at Aquabox

1544 boxes (all in stock) went last week.
900 to Sri Lanka via World Wide Int`l Aid and the Methodist Missionary Society
644 via Blythwood Care to India.

400 boxes are going to India via Real Aid next Tuesday
300 on Thursday via Christian African Relief Trust to India.

Aqua 30`s are in the region of. 10% of all consignments.
More boxes will be on the way ASAP.

Suppliers are pulling out all the stops, but Aquabox are ordering as much in 2 weeks as for one normal year!!.

Sponsorship donations are approaching 1 million.

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

It is now just over two weeks since I wrote to you regarding the terrible tragedy that struck South East Asia on 26 December 2004.

In my previous letter I made mention of Rotary’s response within Rotary GB&I to the disaster up to that point. Since then that response has continued and increased quite incredibly.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in our response, in whatever way, for all that has been achieved over the three weeks since the earthquake struck. You have brought great credit to yourselves, to your club, to your District and to Rotary, but, above all, you have brought hope to the victims of the disaster.

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami is, arguably, the worst natural disaster to strike our planet in the one hundred years of Rotary’s existence. I firmly believe that the response from Rotary within Rotary GB&I is, arguably, one of the finest moments in our history. Rotary within these islands has raised approaching £5 million towards disaster relief. Much of this has already been spent on the provision of tangible aid in the region through the various box schemes of which you will be familiar. Other aid has been provided though direct Rotary contacts which were in existence prior to the disaster striking.

The public have been incredibly generous in supporting us with monetary donations, but Rotarians and the Family of Rotary have been incredibly generous by donating their time, always a valuable commodity, but perhaps even more so at this time of year. It is only by giving of their time that Rotarians and the Family of Rotary have enabled the public to be so generous.

In any bad situation, it is important to look for good. I believe that good has come out of the past three weeks. The fact that the general public have been prepared to entrust us with the sums of money which they have speaks volumes for the trust they have in us and the credibility we have as an organisation. The knowledge of what we are doing for the victims of the disaster has certainly helped change the public’s perception of the image of Rotary. People are wanting to become more involved with Rotary on the strength of the response they have seen us give. Individual clubs have enjoyed the fellowship that comes from working together on a meaningful project - I believe that will bear fruit in the future. Additionally, groups of clubs have realised the value of cooperation by coming together and achieving much more than they could done have working in isolation.

It is a fact of life that we must now begin to think beyond the disaster in South East Asia and remember the other, ongoing disasters affecting our world.

In a perverse way, the children of Rwanda and South Africa have been affected by the terrible disaster in South East Asia. They may not have been bereaved, the tidal wave may not have swept away their homes and villages - they did not even get wet, but they have suffered none the less because of the, quite understandable, shifting of financial aid from Africa to Asia. There is a loss of life equivalent to that caused by the Tsunami every week or month in sub-Saharan Africa and it is vital that we continue to support those affected in this region.

Can I urge you to remember the children we aim to help through the Rotary GB&I Preferred Project “Rotary’s Africa Hope”? Please try and find a way to support this project, even at a time when your resources are so stretched. We have achieved much already in Rwanda and South Africa, but there is a long way to go. Perhaps another viewing of the Rotary`s Africa Hope video may spark an idea for a new fundraising idea or appeal.

Do contact Hope and Homes for Children on 01722 790111 if they can send you a copy of the video or any publicity material. They would also welcome the opportunity to come and speak at any meetings on the subject of the project.

Thanks again for all your help - I am proud to belong to the same organisation as you.

With kindest regards,

R Gordon R McInally
Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland

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