Recovering from Tropical Storm Irene in Vermont

Rotary members helped a father and son in Vermont return to their home following Tropical Storm Irene. Photo by Jon Gilbert Fox, Rotary Club of Hanover, New Hampshire

Rotary members helped a father and son in Vermont return to their home following Tropical Storm Irene. Photo by Jon Gilbert Fox, Rotary Club of Hanover, New Hampshire

By Marilyn Bedell, Rotary Club of Lebanon-Riverside, New Hampshire, USA, and Jan McElroy, Rotary Club of Henniker, New Hampshire

Rotary members in the New England region of the United States are providing long-term recovery from Tropical Storm Irene, with the help of Rotarians around the globe. Here’s one story of the difference we are making.

Irene, a large and destructive tropical cyclone, affected much of the Caribbean and East Coast of the United States during late August 2011. In Vermont, Irene flooded most of the state’s rivers and streams and in many places stripped away the earth itself, leaving fields of stone and boulders where lush crops and gardens once stood. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed and thousands badly damaged. Continue reading

Addressing women’s health needs in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan

Rotary members and family pack health kits to distribute.

Rotary members and family pack health kits to distribute.

By Pamela Godoy, past president of the Rotary Club of Mandaluyong-Pasig-San Juan, Philippines

Not long after Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) made its first landfall on 8 November, Rotary members in District 3800 began mobilizing donations to help the relief efforts.

Instead of the usual items for relief packs (canned goods, instant noodles, etc.), the members of my Rotary club decided to take a different approach and focus on Continue reading

Father, sons summit Kilimanjaro to aid typhoon survivors

David Johnson (right) and his sons on Uhuru Peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.

David Johnson (right) and his son, Tom (left) with their sherpa on Uhuru Peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.

By John Hiscock, past president of the Rotary Club of Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, England

The exciting thing about Rotary is being able to get to know and serve alongside some fantastic individuals, who help inspire us all to greater things. David Johnson, a member of my club, is one such person, who has captured the imagination of our local community, and inspired members of Rotary throughout our district with his fundraising dedication. Continue reading

Philippines recovery will take time

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By Monty Audenart, aide to Rotary President Ron Burton and a Rotary Foundation Trustee

If there is one thing that’s evident in the Philippines, it’s that the people are resilient. When disasters like Typhoon Haiyan strike, there is grief, but then they get down to surviving. Continue reading

Providing shelter and hope in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan

Bill Decker, a Rotary member and ShelterBox Response Team member, with children in the Philippines.

Bill Decker, a Rotary club past president and ShelterBox Response Team member, with children in the Philippines.

By Bill Decker, past president of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia, chair of the ShelterBox USA Board, and a ShelterBox Response Team member

I am on the ground on the island of Bantayan in the province of Cebu, Philippines, where the eye of Super Typhoon Haiyan (locally called Yolanda) passed over just a couple weeks ago. The devastation is unlike anything I’ve seen, and ShelterBox’s ongoing efforts will be required to alleviate the suffering here of the hundreds of thousands of displaced people. This is not my first visit to the Philippines as a ShelterBox Response Team member.  Continue reading

Tents meet basic housing needs in tornado’s aftermath

David Shirley with one of the tents ShelterBox deployed for families left homeless by the tornado. Photo coutesy ShelterBox USA

David Shirley with one of the tents ShelterBox deployed for families left homeless by the tornado. Photo coutesy ShelterBox USA

By David Shirley, past governor of District 5770 (Oklahoma, USA) and a ShelterBox volunteer

Arriving in Bethel Acres and Little Axe, Oklahoma, in June, I was greeted by a scene of total devastation that was both overwhelming and heart breaking. Where there had once been homes and cars, there was now only rubble.

I had been asked by ShelterBox to assess the need for help. On my initial visit 22 days after the F-4 tornado struck, I actually missed the turn into the housing area as my attention was drawn to a mobile home standing in perfect condition, except for the completely absent roof. Continue reading

The Moore way

Residents look over the damage in Moore, Oklahoma, USA, after a category 5 tornado touched down 20 May. Photo courtesy Rob Morris

Residents look over the damage in Moore, Oklahoma, USA, after a category 5 tornado touched down 20 May. Photo by Moore Monthly/themooredaily.com

By Brent Wheelbarger, a member of the Rotary Club of Moore, Oklahoma, USA

The tornado bears down on Moore, Oklahoma. Photo courtesy Rob Morris

The tornado bears down on Moore, Oklahoma. Photo by Moore Monthly/themore

I sat in a bus along with other media outlets from around the world. It was the day after the tornado and we were being shuttled to the various damage sites so reporters could shoot video and file stories.

For many of them, it was a first glimpse at the extent of destruction … for me, it was a pit of emotion. Many of our neighborhoods gone. Our hospital destroyed. Hundreds of cars twisted, stacked, crushed. Innumerable businesses gutted. Two of our schools reduced to rubble. I didn’t like what I saw and I didn’t like how I felt. Continue reading

Truckloads of supplies for hurricane relief

Bonnie F. Sirower

By Bonnie F. Sirower, governor of District 7490 (New Jersey, USA)

On 10 November, with the help of nearly 150 volunteers, about a third of them new to Rotary, we sorted materials delivered by about five large trucks from all over the United States.

Then we packed pick-up trucks to the hilt with food, clothing, cleaning supplies, toiletries, baby stuff, and blankets and set off in many different directions to deliver these goods to more than 12 communities throughout the affected districts hit by Hurricane Sandy nearly two weeks ago. Continue reading

Helping the forgotten people hurt by Hurricane Sandy

People line up at the Nazareth House in lower Manhattan seeking supplies that will get them by for the day. Photo by George R. Camp, past district governor

By Joe Clark, past governor of District 7230 (Bermuda, part of New York, USA)

Hurricane Sandy has left its mark. In lower Manhattan, many elderly, infirmed, homeless and single parent families are suffering. They have no power, food, water, blankets, or warm clothing to get by, and with harsh weather approaching, they don’t have heat or other essentials to keep them going. They are at risk of illness or death from exposure.

Many of these people are invisible to the rest of us, hidden by the brick, steel, and concrete of shelters that hide them from public view. They are fighting to get by one day at a time. They visit the Bowery Mission and the Nazareth House, two charity organizations, on a daily basis to see what they can get to provide for themselves and their families. Continue reading

What’s big, green, and saves lives?

ShelterBox deployment near Bologna, Italy, following a 5.9-magnitude earthquake 20 May. Photo by James Edgerley/ShelterBox

By Harriet “Pepi” Noble, a member of the Rotary Club of Mechanicville, New York, USA

For the over one million people whose lives have been saved the answer is easy: it’s a ShelterBox.  Founded in Cornwall in the United Kingdom by Rotarian Tom Henderson, this international disaster relief charity delivers emergency shelter including a 10 person tent, blankets, cooking utensils, water storage and purification and other essential life saving equipment all wrapped in a big green box. Continue reading