Rotary’s quick disaster response


In life we are continuously faced with all sorts of problems and we have to take the right decisions. I’ve noticed that I make better decisions when I ask myself the right questions. The results have made me a happier person. Whatever the situation, you can choose how you want to handle it efficiently. This is exactly what happened in three different disasters last year — in Ukraine, Pakistan, and now in Turkey and Syria.

Turkey and Syria were struck by two devastating earthquakes killing thousands, destroying homes, leaving the survivors in bitter and unrelenting winter cold. Add to this non-availability of clean water and washrooms, and there was dire need for tents and shelter kits, stoves, thermal blankets and clothes, and of course cash to buy food and fuel to survive the bitter cold.

The Rotary world responded to this catastrophe immediately. RI activated our disaster response efforts, communicated with the affected districts, and encouraged governors in those regions to apply for disaster response grants, etc. TRF decided that all donations made from now till March 31 to the Turkey/Syria Disaster Response Fund will be used for earthquake relief projects. It made available over $125,000, through Disaster Response Grants, to the affected Rotary districts. Rotary’s project partners ShelterBox and Habitat for Humanity International are communicating with the district leaders in the region. Many Rotarians are asking how they can help.

Rotary extends relief through three phases. Immediate response where local clubs and partners offer helping hands and supplies; short-term assistance through funds and material to help communities re-establish day-to-day operations; and long-term rebuilding where clubs plan and implement projects to rebuild affected communities.

We can create a huge impact by donating online on to Turkey/Syria Disaster Response Fund, Ukraine Response Fund and Pakistan Flood Response Fund. The Disaster Response Fund can accept cash contributions and District Designated Funds.

Promoting peace is by far the cornerstone of our global mission. Everything we do leads to creating an environment where peace can prevail, including supporting education, fighting disease and so on.

At the end I can only say, grief is love that can no longer be shared. Love that you wanted to give, but the person is no longer around to receive it. The feeling of loss remains. It doesn’t shrink with time. So let’s start loving and taking care of people from today.

Mahesh Kotbagi
RI Director, 2021–23

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