Emergency Appeal - Tianjin Disaster Fund

Emergency Appeal

100,000 RMB for Protective Suits and Masks for frontline emergency workers

Dear Fellows,

Our fellows in Tianjin need your help!

Rotarians are wired to help - and so it is a Rotarian’s natural wish to respond immediately in a some meaningful way when there is a disaster such as the recent 8.12 disaster in Tianjin – which I watched unfold with horror via CCTV English in my hotel room in Pyongyang where I was following up another Rotary service project. It was several days before I was out and could communicate with AG Ruby and President Michael, but I want to reassure you that they have been working around the club to respond to this disaster.

Tianjin needs your help now to support an urgent appeal for RMB 100,000 in disaster relief.

It is important to say a few words about Rotarians and disaster relief — where our clubs and members have recent experience responding to the Nepal earthquake and back in 2008 to the Wenchuan earthquake as examples.

Rotary is not a charity, rather we are a network of clubs who prefer to do hands-on service projects over simply donating money to a cause. Whatever we do, we generally initiate the project ourselves, or work with a counterpart club to support their initiative(s). In this was we build bonds between clubs and members, and enable more effective and reliable stewardship of resources.

In the case of a natural disaster, Rotarians typically want to help in an additional way - with initial disaster relief. Quite often because disasters are managed by government authorities to reduce chaos and respond immediately, we give to a disaster relief body such as the Red Cross, or Shelterbox to support their professional efforts.

Our “Communities in Action” guidebook - says this:

Disaster relief and recovery

Rotarians have a long history of aiding victims of natural disasters. Through local club and district efforts, Rotarians donate to relief funds; send shipments of food, clothing, and medicine; collaborate with local organizations that offer emergency relief; and provide ongoing assistance during long-term reconstruction projects. 

To provide immediate disaster relief, clubs are encouraged to work with well-established international relief agencies that are equipped to quickly and effectively allocate aid. 

Occasionally, when the scale is vast as it was in Nepal earlier this year, the RI President will issue an appeal and quite often this appeal is to Rotarians to channel their resources into a district led Disaster Relief Fund. This makes it easy for Rotarians who naturally feel for their brothers and sisters in the affected area to respond in a meaningful way - initially.

Whether it is in Tianjin, Wenchuan or Nepal, this will normally be followed by Rotarians who work with their club partners to generate meaningful service projects, in line with our 6 Areas of Focus, that can be implemented in a hands on approach, once the dust has settled and the initial stages of disaster relief have been completed. This is when the true work of Rotary begins.

In the case of Tianjin, I am proud to report that President Michael’s provisional Rotary club of Tianjin, with the help of AG Ruby and also the strong support of former Shanghai Friend of Rotaract Edith Du have been proactively involved to help raise funds to provide the front line disaster workers in the Tianjin Environmental Protection Bureau and Tianjin Administration of Work Safety and old friend of Beijing club, Vera Chen, President of the Tianjin Development Zone Charity Association have responded to an urgent appeal for additional protective suits and masks for the front line professionals.

This is an immediate response and it will no doubt be followed by additional projects initiated by our fellows in Tianjin, whom I am happy to announce are unharmed by the explosion, but several of  their businesses have been affected by it. So this disaster hits close to home for us. More details provided by AG Ruby here:

The target now is RMB 100,000 in support and we are appealing to individuals and clubs to support. The Rotary China “district” has pledged 20,000 RMB from our training budget to help Tianjin club - and Beijing and Shanghai clubs have pledged 10,000 support as well - so we are almost half way there. We strongly encourage other clubs in China  - and friendly clubs abroad to contribute as well towards this appeal.

FYI Tianjin club has also been working with the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation to facilitate transfer of donations of air filtration equipment for families, and that has required no cash contribution from us - just hands-on support on the ground, but the families cannot return until the emergency workers have completed their mission.

We need your generous support. If you would like to help please contact District Finance Chair CM Tsang - and he can give you the details where to send your contribution. Every small bit helps!

Contribute Now

Yours in Rotary Service,

Special Representative to China