Korean members assess earthquake damage in Turkey, pledge relief

Members of the assessment team from Korea listen to District 2430 Governor Emre Öztürk (white jacket) during a visit to a tent village in the earthquake-damaged area of Turkey.

By Duck-JU Lee, Rotary Club of Cheonan Dream, Korea

After the earthquake that devastated parts of Turkey, a team of Rotary members from District 3620 (Korea) traveled to the affected area to assess the damage and support our fellow Rotarians. The journey to the region where the earthquake caused the most damage was long and arduous. It took our team a solid two days to arrive at our destination.

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Standing in solidarity with Turkey

Boxes of collected supplies waiting for shipment
Rotary Members in Turkey collect and transport emergency supplies for people impacted by the earthquake, including food and water, toys, heaters, hygienic supplies, and clothing.

By Vesna Baur, Rotary Club of Čačak, Serbia

There are times when events in the world leave you speechless. As I watched the news from Turkey and Syria following the devastating earthquakes there, I found myself in disbelief and despair as, day after day, the number of casualties and missing grew. I have friends who live very close to the epicenter, and I have not heard from them. I hold out hope that I will.

My friendships go back decades to when we were teenagers, living in Paris, and our parents were working in France as expatriates. After our parents decided to return to our countries of origin, we stayed in contact loosely through phone and mail.

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Working alongside ShelterBox after Super Typhoon Rai

Man carrying bit piece of iron next to a local man in a white shirt
Bernard Vonn Sia, left, carries corrugated iron sheeting as part of ShelterBox’s response to Super Typhoon Rai in Cebu in 2021.

Editor’s Note: In December 2021, Super Typhoon Rai hit the Philippines with gusts of up to 240 kilometers per hour, the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane. ShelterBox worked closely with Rotary contacts, local partners, international response teams and the Philippines Navy. Bernard Vonn Sia was part of a disaster response team working with ShelterBox.

Bernard Vonn Sia

By Bernard Vonn Sia, Rotary Club of Cebu, Philippines

As the son of a Rotary member, I was exposed to the organization very early. I thought of it as a group of like-minded people who wanted to help the poor. It wasn’t until I joined the Rotary Club of Cebu sometime later that I realized Rotary was about more than that. Rotary is about coming together to share our time, talent, and resources to better humanity. Giving becomes a pleasure, as we collaborate with other organizations to use our different strengths and competencies to save lives and build a better future.

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Saving babies in Ukraine

Dr. Philips in yellow vest in back of van loaded with supplies
Dr. John Philip with some of the medical supplies the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals has collected for Ukraine.

By Dr. John Philip, a member of the Rotary Club of Newbury, Berkshire, England, and Chair of the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals

I recently traveled 1,350 miles from my home in Newbury, South England, through France, Germany, and Poland to the Ukraine border. My role was mainly one of providing navigation for the relief supplies we were delivering. I was joined by two Scottish colleagues, each driving a van packed tight with 120 boxes of vital medical equipment.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some trepidation about the journey, but it was one I felt compelled to make. I felt a deep sense of personal responsibility, both to the Rotary members who’ve generously supported the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals’ relief work, and to all the Ukrainians whose lives this equipment could ultimately save.

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Helping Ukraine: from medical supplies to generators

Volunteers stand in front of supplies in Ukraine
A team from HelpingUkraine.us, including Rotary members from Georgia, USA, deliver supplies and generators to communities in Ukraine. Photo courtesy HelpingUkraine.us

By Emory Morsberger, Rotary Club of Gwinnett County, Georgia, USA

In August I wrote about my June 2022 trip to Ukraine, where I saw firsthand the devastation families were facing as they struggled to survive in the midst of war. A lot has happened since then.

In conjunction with the first anniversary of the war, teams from the nonprofit we established, HelpingUkraine.us, will be installing 45 new generators across Ukraine’s frontlines and in impacted cities and rural villages. It will be our nonprofit’s third mission in 2023.

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