Rotary clubs around the world are pledging emergency aid to communities in central Philippines after last week’s massive typhoon flattened entire coastal towns and villages, killed thousands of people, and displaced nearly 600,000 more.
The situation remains dire as widespread destruction has made food, water, and medicine scarce in remote areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm to make landfall on record.
Rotary President Ron Burton is urging our 34,000 clubs worldwide to continue to assist storm victims.
"I know we all want to help. I am urging our clubs to take action to provide emergency aid now and begin planning for the future when we can help rebuild homes, schools, and businesses," says Burton. "We are in the business of helping people in need."
Rotary partner ShelterBox has committed aid for 4,000 families in the form of emergency shelter and other relief assistance.
Such disasters are “exactly why we entered into our partnership with ShelterBox,” says Burton. “It gives Rotary members worldwide the opportunity to respond immediately and in a very meaningful way to the life-threatening conditions faced by the people of the Philippines.”
For nearly 100 years, Rotary clubs in the Philippines have been creating positive change in their communities. The first Philippine Rotary club was formed in Manila in 1919. Today, more than 800 Rotary clubs throughout the Philippines give members the chance to make a difference at home and around the globe.
Rotary's work to eradicate polio, our top priority, began in the Philippines. In 1979, Rotary funded the immunization of six million children with the oral polio vaccine. Based largely on the success there, the World Health Assembly authorized the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in which Rotary is a spearheading partner.
Rotary clubs in the Philippines have improved water and sanitation, led medical and dental missions, created literacy programs, and participated in reforestation plantings. When a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck central Philippines in September, clubs were there to bring aid to those in need.
“Rotary members often are both first-responders and rebuilders when major disasters strike because clubs are present in every corner of the world,” Burton says. “We continue with recovery efforts long after international relief agencies have gone because Rotary clubs are part of the communities we serve.”
Clubs in Rotary District 3860, which covers the area that sustained the most damage, created a relief fund for victims. Learn more.
You can also help by working with relief agencies like these:
- International Committee of the Red Cross and Philippine Red Cross
- World Food Programme
- UNICEF, Philippines
Contact your local Rotary club to learn how you can help your community.