Rotary clubs step up to assist victims of severe floods in South Asia
(New Delhi, India - 10 August 2007) — As monsoon-driven floodwaters threaten nearly 22 million people in northern India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, Rotary clubs have stepped up relief efforts to deliver food, medicines and clothing to marooned villages.
In the Maharajganj, Gorakhpur and Bara Banki districts of India's northern Uttar Pradesh state, where more than two million people are affected, Rotarians are helping government aid workers distribute water purification tablets in flood ravaged villages. Rotary-supported mobile medical teams have been dispatched to combat expected outbreaks of gastroenteritis, dengue fever and malaria.
Shaikh Abdul Hadi, a member of the Rotary Club of Khulna North in Bangladesh, said his club is distributing food, “although it is very little” compared with the overwhelming need. “Large portions of Bangladesh are under floodwater,” he said. “Sixty percent of the people in the country are homeless. Every one of us somehow affected.”
From the United Kingdom, the Rotary club-supported charity, ShelterBox, has sent 200 ShelterBox containers to flooded communities in Nepal. Each container provides tents and other necessities to help 10 people survive for up to six months.
“Rotarians who volunteered as relief workers in the affected areas are asking fellow Rotarians worldwide for more help and aid for the flood victims who have been suffering for days,” says A.C. Peter, a member of the Rotary Club of Delhi East End, India. “Children are especially vulnerable to water-borne diseases. The UN has described the flooding as the worst in living memory.”
The region’s Rotary clubs are also looking for long-term solutions to the flooding problem. For example, the Rotary India Water Conservation Trust seeks to reduce flooding by improving the forest cover in the Gangotri basin and encourage sound management of water resources. Said trust Chairman Sushil Gupta, “Much more needs to be done by Rotary to address recurrence of flood every year by jointly addressing the problem along with South Asian governments.”
Meanwhile, Rotary clubs in Pakistan and Afghanistan are seeking additional aid for victims of a 26 June cyclone that killed 324 people and left 224 missing and more than 377,000 homeless in the Balochistan and Sindh provinces of Pakistan.
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. Rotary is in There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians who are members of more than 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.