Bushfire Response
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All Rotarians are horrified and saddened by the widespread devastation in many parts of Victoria caused by bushfires that commenced early in February.  The death toll is already higher than in almost any other peacetime disaster in Australia, and still growing. The loss of property is horrific on it's own but coupled with the loss of loved ones, family and friends makes it so much more heart wrenching. Our heartfelt love and support go to all those who are sufferering through Australia's greatest natural disaster. Our thoughts are with all who are affected personally by the loss of family and friends.

Governor John has consulted with the four other Victorian District Governors and many other Rotarians to decide how Rotary can best respond. Rotary is not and cannot be a first resource in disasters like this but as the days, weeks and months unfold and the true picture emerges there will be many things that Rotary can do on a Club and District level.

Victorian Rotary Districts Bushfire Recovery Group

The five Victorian District Governors met in Ballarat on 20 February and decided

to appoint a committee (the Rotary Victoria Districts Recovery Group) comprising one representative from each District.  PDG Brian Foley has been appointed as the District 9810 representative.

The group met early in March and the following report by PDG Brian has been sent to all District 9810 clubs and other district leaders:

"The combined Victorian Rotary Districts Bushfire Recovery group held its first meeting on 5 March. This inaugural meeting mainly dealt with consideration of the overall scope of the task facing the Rotary districts and how we are going to handle it. Some organisational and administrative measures and a communication strategy were put in place. 

The five Victorian districts have all set up bushfire relief appeal funds and funds are flowing in from clubs, Rotarians and other donors across Victoria as well as from other parts of Australia and overseas. The main thrust of the combined Districts recovery program will be to use these funds to provide services and facilities to communities affected by the February 2009 bushfires and that are not already being met by assistance from government, industry, insurance bodies or other organisations. As part of this process, the group plans to liaise and coordinate with other major groups including the Victorian Government Reconstruction Committee, police, local government and non-government bodies. 

As far as possible, the group will allocate funds based on need and priority across the whole of Victoria.  In this regard, it is expected that the majority of funds donated to the District 9810 appeal fund could be allocated to projects in other districts.

Districts 9790 (North Eastern Victoria) and 9820 (Gippsland) were most severely impacted by the fires and clubs in these districts are still very involved with clean -up activities and planning for longer term recovery projects is yet to be finalised. Therefore the Rotary recovery group is not yet in the position to allocate funds to specific projects in these areas and it is likely to be about two months before this can commence. It is expected that the life of the program could extend for a period of up to two years.

The Rotary Club of Healesville has initiated a project to assist landholders re-establish homes and businesses in areas affected by the fires around the Healesville, Chum Creek, and Yarra Glen areas. Services being provided include tree clearance, timber salvage, firewood, land surveying, fencing, provision of generators, water tanks, portable toilets/bathrooms/washing facilities, chainsaws, trailers, water filters, battery radios, shipping containers etc. The club commenced this project using its community service funds and is receiving an initial allocation from the District 9810 Bushfire Appeal Fund to allow this worthwhile project to continue. The need for further funding for this project will be reviewed regularly in relation to the total funds available and other requests.

Many clubs and individuals have already donated to the District 9810 Bushfire Appeal and we are aware of other events planned to support this cause. You are encouraged to continue supporting this appeal so that adequate funds are available to meet all the Rotary recovery programs in the affected communities.

All enquiries concerning the Victorian Rotary Districts Bushfire Recovery Group should be directed to me.

Donations to the district bushfire appeal should be sent to District Treasurer David Mair

It is planned to provide progress reports on the recovery effort through our regular weekly and monthly newsletters, district websites and RDU

Brian Foley
District 9810 Representative
Victorian Rotary Districts Bushfire Recovery Group'"

District Rural Relief Committee

The District Rural Relief Committee, under chairmanship of Geoff Roberts, is moving to assist communities and families affected by the fires.  The committee has prepared a brochure explaining how Rotary clubs can become directly involved in this important work.  Click on the following link to download the brochure (PDF format):    Rural Relief Committee Bushfire Relief Brochure

Club Fundraising Events

A number of clubs have organised special fundraising events in aid of bushfire relief and all Rotarians are encouraged to support these efforts.  Further details these events can be obtained from the calendar accessible via the links on the right hand side of this page.

District Fire Relief Appeal
We have established a District Appeal - Rotary District 9810 - Fire Relief, and donations can be sent to District Treasurer, David Mair at 39 Leicester Avenue Glen Waverley 3150. From our District Emergency fund, I will arrange to transfer an initial $5000 to start the Appeal. 

We will hold this money on behalf of clubs, and, in consultation with the other four Victorian District Governors ( whose Districts have been severely affected), we will decide how best this money can be distributed so that it does the most good - but this will take time. We have, of course, in our District boundaries the devastation in the town of Marysville with some 80% of the town destroyed and this may well be an area where we can be of assistance.

We have to now take the time to gather our resources, establish the facts, and more importantly the need for specific action. Our responses will likely be co-ordinated through our Rural Relief Committee, who would not have thought at it's inception that they would be dealing with something of this magnitude.

Payments by Rotary clubs or individuals can be made to the Relief Appeal as follows:

Cheques
Make payable to:    Rotary District 9810 - Bushfire Relief Appeal

Mail to:          Rotary District 9810, Treasurer
                     39 Leicester Avenue
                     GLEN WAVERLEY   VIC   3150

Electronic Payments
Made via your bank to:
Bank:            Bendigo Bank
BSB:             633000
Account Name:    Rotary District 9810 - Bushfire Relief Appeal
Account Number:    133244004

If the donation is being sent electronically from outside Australia, it is also necessary to include the Swift code for Bendigo Bank.  This is:  BENDAU3B

Please enter the name of the sending club or individual in the details section of the transfer and ensure your bank sends this information with your transfer, otherwise it will be difficult for your donation to be quickly identified.  A confirmation email can also be sent to Treasurer David Mair using the email form below.