The Rotary Foundation has established the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund for U.S. Rotarians who want to donate toward recovery efforts after a powerful earthquake rocked Haiti on 12 January.
The Haitian Red Cross is estimating that more than 50,000 people are dead and millions more injured after the quake, the impoverished nation's strongest in 200 years, crumbled government buildings, hospitals, schools, and shantytowns. Most of the capital, Port-au-Prince, is in ruins.
A ShelterBox response team of two U.S. Rotarians and one from the United Kingdom has already mobilized to deliver 500 containers of supplies to the affected areas. Also, more than 100 Aquaboxes are being delivered to Haiti to provide safe water.
Claude Surena, a member of the Rotary Club of Petion-Ville, is sheltering more than 100 people in his damaged home in Port-au-Prince. He is also leading the efforts of the 17 Haitian Rotary clubs to ensure that the ShelterBox containers will be deployed effectively to the thousands left homeless.
The Rotary Club of Curaao, Netherlands Antilles, has committed US$50,000 to clubs in the affected areas.
"Rotarians are working hard and fast to get help to those in Haiti," says Past RI Director Barry Rassin, of Nassau, Bahamas, who has previously coordinated relief efforts in the country. "We're at the same time working on long-term efforts."
More than $75,000 has been donated to District 7020 in the Caribbean, according to Past District Governor Dick McCombe. The district will be coordinating much of the Rotarian relief effort through its Haiti Task Force, set up two years ago to administer all financial aid to the nation.
A six-member team of Rotarians from District 5890 (Texas, USA) has reported in safe after landing in Haiti for a humanitarian mission 45 minutes before the quake struck. They were scheduled to be there a week but will likely return early.
"We were in Haiti 18 months ago, delivering aid after a series of hurricanes left thousands homeless," said Lasse Petersen, general manager for ShelterBox. "We'll now be working closely with our contacts on the ground in the country to make sure we get aid to the people who need it most during the current crisis."
RI President John Kenny and Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair, Glenn E. Estess Sr. have sent a joint letter conveying Rotary's condolences to victims of the quake and asking for more information on how Rotarians can help.
Follow updates on the Haitian earthquake on the RI website.
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