EVANSTON, Ill., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- From raising funds to collecting relief supplies to distributing life-saving shelters in Port-au-Prince, Rotary clubs www.rotary.org worldwide continue to ramp up efforts to assist the victims of the killer earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12.
And that includes members of the 17 Rotary clubs operating in Haiti, where pediatrician Claude Surena, a Rotary member in Port-au-Prince, has been tapped by President Rene Preval to coordinate the national government's emergency response. The chair of Rotary's Haiti Disaster Preparedness Committee, Dr. Surena and fellow Haitian Rotary members are helping to make sure incoming relief supplies are used effectively. He and his family also have been caring for injured quake victims on the grounds of their home since the disaster occurred.
Among the first international relief workers to reach Haiti were volunteers from ShelterBox www.shelterbox.org, a U.K.-based disaster response organization supported by Rotary clubs worldwide. Each ShelterBox kit contains a 10-person tent, a water purification system and other survival necessities. About 2,000 ShelterBoxes -- enough to assist 20,000 people -- are in Haiti, and another 3,000 are due within a week, coordinated by logistics teams set up in Miami, Fla., and Santo Domingo, D.R. The ShelterBox team is first targeting pregnant women and families with newborns, but as team member Mark Pearson says, "The walking wounded are everywhere."
Nearly 1,500 of the walking wounded have been treated by 23 physicians volunteering with Comprehensive Disaster Response Services, assisted by six volunteers from two New York City Rotary clubs. Another 600 patients were admitted to the team's emergency hospital. The team worries that as time passes, the risk of disease will increase. "Should it rain, there will be outbreaks of cholera and other diseases," says volunteer Jim Kushner, of the Rotary Club of Inwood, Manhattan, N.Y.
Clubs throughout the regional Rotary district that includes Haiti quickly mobilized to send more than 55 planes carrying 50,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies into the cities of Pignon and Port-de-Paix, bypassing the myriad of logistical problems in Port-au-Prince. Rotary clubs throughout the Caribbean have raised more than $310,000 for immediate relief and long-term rebuilding.
"Rotary had an incredible infrastructure established before the quake, which has made our relief efforts very effective," says Dick McCombe, a member of the Rotary Club of South-East Nassau, Bahamas, noting that Rotary was in good position to help in Haiti, with 33 projects already underway to provide water, sanitation, medical care, and education even before the earthquake.
The Rotary Foundation has set up a Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund to streamline the flow of contributions, primarily for U.S. club members. Fund managers will work with local Rotary clubs and relief agencies to meet the most pressing needs of communities in the affected area. Funds will be used in the relief effort, and for projects providing longer-term support and development.
Other examples of Rotary's worldwide response to the disaster in Haiti:
Rotary – an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide in humanitarian service - has more than 1.2 million members in more than 33,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographic regions. For more information, visit www.rotary.org.
SOURCE Rotary International
|SOURCE Rotary International|
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