As Disaster Aid International (DAI) celebrates its 10th Birthday in October its appropriate to reflect on our journey.
At the Rotary International Convention of 2010 in Montreal representatives of the newly formed Disaster Aid Australia met up with Rotarians from similar organisations in the USA and Canada to talk about international co-operation.
By October 2010 the the three initial partners were joined by the British charity ‘LifeBox’ and Disaster Aid International was formally launched as a partnership between Disaster Aid Australia, Disaster Aid USA, Disaster Aid Canada and Disaster Aid UK and Ireland.
Initial aid deployments were to India and Pakistan as a result of floods, other early deployments were to; the Sudan, Haiti, the Horn of Africa, and the Philippines.
For these initial deployments the main type of aid was Family Survival Pack containing a tent, blankets, cooking equipment.
As the organisation gained experience, and carried out follow up reviews of aid delivery, it discovered that many of the components of the Family Survival Pack were not being used.
Over the ten years the Disaster Aid concept has attracted Rotary Clubs from other countries including Brazil, Czech Republic, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Uruguay.
The individual organisations though separate come together to support each other when responding to disasters with support ranging from financial and material help to sending volunteer Disaster Aid Response Teams (DARTs) for hands on aid delivery.
Over time individual partners have modified their aid delivery from the standardised Family Survival Pack approach to regionally and situationally appropriate aid.
Examples of this are:
An approach of asking the communities that we are aiding what they want and then aiming to purchase the materials as close to the disaster location as possible.
Typically the requirements are help repairing and/or rebuilding their homes, and the provision of safe drinking water.
Disaster Aid Trailers
Disaster USA in addition to responding to international disasters also respond to internal disasters such as floods and tornados.
To save time they have a number of trailers around the states ready for immediate deployment
Each trailer contains equipment and materials that enable them to offer assistance withing minutes of arriving on site.
Safe Water for Every Child
Disaster Aid Australia though its work in providing safe water for disasters saw that the SkyHydrant units were resulting in long term health benefits to the recipients.
As a result the ‘Safe Water for Every Child‘ program was developed to instal permanent skyhydrant installations, a response to the worldwide disaster of hundreds of thousands of deaths annually as a result of contaminated water.
Rotary International Recognition
In 2019 the efforts of Disaster Aid International were recognised by Rotary International and we were awarded the status of Collaborating Organisation.
Around the World Disaster Aid partners are responding to COVID-19
Disaster Aid Brazil
The Disaster Aid Brazil team aquired hand sanitizer, masks, disposable gloves, and disinfectant.
This has been re-packed by Disaster Aid Brazil volunteers and delivered to all Rotary Clubs in District 4740.
Each clubs will then arrange distribution to hospitals and NGOs across Southern Brazil.
The project was supported by a US$25,000 from the Rotary Foundation Disaster Fund.
Disaster Aid Malaysia
Disaster Aid Malaysia have been working on a joint project with Rotary District 3310.
This has involved purchasing and distributing santizers and face masks.
They are also supporting the needy with supplies of rice.
Disaster Aid USA
Since March 2020, Disaster Aid USA has provided relief aid items worldwide by tapping into factory and supply partners, including contacts in China.
Items include desperately PPE such as medical face masks, KN95 masks, gloves, and gowns.
To date, DAUSA has secured and distributed more than 40,000 PPEs.
Additional units are in route to the United States for Disaster Aid USA’s deployment, bringing their total distribution to: 115,000+.
Rotarians and other community volunteers and donors have been handling all of the distribution of the PPEs.
Distribution has been everywhere from local recreation centers and senior centers to first responders and medical facilities as well as others who are in high need.
Disaster Aid Australia
Disaster AId Australia has been assisting its Philippine partner Balay Mindanaw by;
Providing grants for the purchase of rice to distribute to needy families.
Providing a SkyHydrant to a displaced persns camp to allow access to clean water.
Disaster Aid Canada
Disaster Aid Canada has just begun an appeal to help the Mayan Villagers in the Lake Atitlán area of Guatemala. They have been working with these people for several years and have contacts who can bring them food and aid. They are in danger of starvation due to the COVID-19 lockdown of their villages. to Help you can donate through – https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/49533
This project has also been supported by grants from Disaster Aid Australia and Disaster Aid UK and Ireland.
The Fort McMurray Floods have wreaked havoc on a community that has been tested too many times recently.
In 2016 the massive forest fires devastated the community and many people lost their homes; the downturn in the Oil Industry has left a large section of the community unemployed.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has closed businesses and added to unemployment.
If those disasters weren’t enough the April 2020 flooding has hit people’s lives, homes and businesses again. 13,000 people were evacuated from their homes.
Businesses were flooded and some people have lost their homes for the second time in 4 years.
Many are still fighting to get insurance payouts from the fires and many do not have insurance coverage for flooding.
The community is rallying around its residents in the face of this adversity but the toll is high.
Disaster Aid Canada is working with Rotarians on the ground who are coordinating with nonprofits and small business, soup kitchens and shelters, individuals and families in need.
Disaster Aid Canada has also set up the Fort McMurray 2020 Flooding Relief Fund.
They are working with Rotary District 5370 and the two Rotary Clubs in Fort McMurray, along with community organisations to ensure that relief funds are used in the community for victims of this disaster.
You can donate via; Canada Helps, or; ATB CaresYou can also send a cheque to Disaster Aid Canada, PO Box 2141, Ladysmith BC, V9G 1B6, attn: Fort McMurray Flood Relief.