Rotarians help disaster victims

ARBROATH Rotarians responded swiftly to the disaster in Japan with donations of more than £1,000 in less than seven days.

Early last week they agreed to the immediate purchase of a £500 ShelterBox and later, at their weekly meeting, a retiring collection raised a further £460 with donations still coming in. Adding in Gift Aid, this collection will eventually total more than £500.

A cheque for that amount was immediately sent to The Rotary Japan and Pacific Islands 2011 Disaster Recovery Fund which has been set up to help with aid for and the longer-term rebuilding of the areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

ShelterBox is a UK-based Rotary International charity which supplies boxes containing the essentials for up to 10 people to survive the aftermath of a disaster.

Each box includes a tent, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic toolkit and even a pack to keep children occupied. The charity was active in the disaster area within 24 hours of the earthquake striking.

President Don Clark said: “Such is the scale of this disaster that we felt we had to act as quickly as possible. Working by e-mail we got a very rapid decision, first from our council and then the full club.

“ShelterBox is an incredibly effective way of helping in a situation like this as Rotary’s international organisation can get aid to where it’s needed very quickly indeed with minimal administration costs.”

Mr Clark said there had been a proposal at the club’s weekly meeting for a collection so the club could make a further contribution. “Again, I’m proud to say our members dug deep and the £460 raised has enabled us to send a cheque to the fund which Rotary has set up for longer-term aid.

“We are also going to be looking at the possibility of further fund-raising because there is no doubt that the scale of this disaster absolutely justifies it.”