We will provide an update on this calamitous event that has seen hundreds killed, but first, it is timely to provide some background about us, what we do, what we plan to do, and, how you can help us in our work … as volunteers in Rotary.
And, just a reminder that we are increasingly using Facebook for updates etc. so please, find us on Facebook to learn more about what we are doing and where, and our needs. Please go to: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Disaster-Aid-International/1414042922212677?fref=ts
Disaster Aid International), a Rotary Club project that began in 2010 (as a company limited by guarantee, and, with full DGR tax deductibility for donations) is a member of the over-arching body known as Disaster Aid International (DAI). Other members of DAI are Rotary Club projects in Malaysia, UK & Ireland, USA and soon, from other countries.
The chairman of DAI is David Langworthy (a member of the Endeavour Hills Rotary Club in D9820 Vic.) who is also deputy chairman of DAA (its chairman is Bob Powell, also from that club), and much of the administrative work of DAI is done through the DAA office in Dandenong (SE Melbourne) kindly donated by an Endeavour Hills club member.
We recently updated our office computers but, in transferring files and data, we have discovered problems that had affected our database. We are working hard to rectify this – and rebuild as necessary – and ask for your understanding. Please remember, our human resources are all volunteers.
DARTs – Disaster Aid Response Team members – are a vital part of our organisation. We have highly trained volunteers (many are Rotarians) who have worked in Haiti, Sudan, Pakistan, the Philippines and Malaysia delivering aid to those often in desperate need.
They work with locals (including NGOs, government and other agencies, and Rotarians) as they rebuild their lives and communities.
How we have changed
Those deployments have taught us a lot. In particular, working in the Philippines with local NGO The Balay Mindanaw Foundation after two massive Typhoons (preceded by an earthquake), we asked affected local people what they needed most.
Rather than provide them with a box of aid that "we" considered they would need, we found by asking, that they wanted (for example) tarpaulins … not tents … and basic building materials. So that is exactly what we did. Importantly, we (our DARTs) stayed on, living in the villages with local people and providing direct and extensive assistance.
But clean, safe water emerged as an ongoing imperative
We work closely with the Australian not-for-profit organisation, SkyJuice™ Foundation, to provide clean, safe water to those in need in developing countries. We also arrange training in the operation of the remarkable SkyHydrant™ water filtration unit; a lightweight, sustainable and affordable water filtration system for humanitarian projects, emergency and disaster relief.
This Australian-designed, low pressure, high-flow, ultra-filtration technology meets WHO requirements for safe drinking water.
Our objective is to provide as many children and adults as we possibly can with clean, safe drinking water.
WATER is now one of our most important areas of focus and commitment.
What we need most now
DAA relies on your ongoing financial support to provide humanitarian aid and training, and of course to ensure we have sufficient stocks in our warehouses for the next, inevitable disaster. We are very low at present after major disasters in the Philippines, and, as you will read shortly, in other regions.
And, we want to deliver SkyHydrant™ water filtration units to where they are needed. That is never-ending, and we are committed to specific projects in affected areas: in the Philippines for instance, we work with The Balay Mindanaw Foundation on an ongoing basis.
Disaster Aid India
Australian Rotarians, David Langworthy and Perminder Rayat (both are members of the RC Endeavour Hills, D9820 Vic.) met with Rotarians in the Mumbai area in early August over several days. They were there at the invitation of the RC Navi Mumbai Palm Beach and the RC Bombay Airport to introduce them to Disaster Aid International, and its work.
|Permi and David (seated left and second left) are made welcome at the RC Bombay Airport||David and Permi explaining the SkyHydrant™ water system at RC Navi Mumbai Palm Beach|
From a strong interest in both aspects, a commitment was given by local Rotarians in those clubs and senior Rotarians in the respective Districts to work to:
- set up Disaster Aid India as a member of Disaster Aid International, and a project of local Rotary clubs, and,
- sponsor and take delivery of some 150 SkyHydrant™ units, and train local Rotarians in the set-up and deployment, initially in a tribal village as a pilot project to assist people in rural India who do not have access to reliable, safe and clean water.
… and then came horrific natural disasters in that part of the world
Not long after the Australian Rotarians returned, landslides and flash floods triggered by massive monsoon rains killed hundreds in northern India, Jammu & Kashmir, and Nepal. Reports in Associated Press said, "Five days of incessant rain (in the area) has seen the worst flooding in more than five decades."
Our Rotarian friends in India sought our help and we sent in aid materials to Mumbai for distribution by the locals. We were advised that it is unsafe to send our DARTs into many of the affected areas so we directed our aid efforts to provision of materials, and to training locals in the Mumbai precinct. However, we are working on the ground in Nepal, where DAI's Deployment Manager (and Rotarian) Ed Cox is now based.
These images from Nepal were sent by Ed Cox recently. We will update this situation in News Updates and Facebook when we can.