25th Edition                                                                              15 June 2021 
Open Doors Special Edition
Rotary Response to Storm Damage in the Yarra Ranges
Following extensive damage to property and infrastructure in parts of our own District many Rotarians are wondering what can be done do to assist. 
Weather news: Clean-up begins in Victoria after homes destroyed, towns cut  off during stormThis newsletter is going to all Rotarians in the District because it is likely that clubs in the affected region will be looking to the rest of the District to support activities and projects.  As is always the case I am confident that, when asked, all clubs in D9810 will be prepared to give support to fellow Rotarians and local communities in need.
The information below is a summary of ideas and input for immediate assistance and longer term recovery.  In any activity, it is important to remember that we are all part of a strong and cooperative organisation that stretches across the entire globe and that there are lots of Rotarians ready and willing to help.
In summary, the information below covers:
  • What Rotary Clubs can do now
  • Planning a longer term response
  • Sources of help and assistance
  • The Rotary opportunity
  • A message from the DG and DGE
Although this newsletter has a lot of words, as has been the case for all issues of Open Doors, please skim through and decide what you need to read and which bits will be of most help to you.
Immediate Response
The major storm experienced in Victoria last week has caused major damage, power outages and significant anguish in parts of our District and other parts of the state.
Victorians count the cost after violent storm sends trees crashing through  homes - ABC NewsBecause Rotarians are compassionate and caring people, our immediate reaction is “what can we do?” and “let’s do something”.
The tradition of Rotary is that we are NOT first responders in a disaster.  The Red Cross, the SES and others are equipped and organised to carry out those tasks and roles.  For Rotarians who want to help now here are some suggestions.
  • Make sure all your fellow Rotarians are OK.  Call around club members.  Even those who did not suffer damage to their homes have lived through a frightening experience so mutual support is important. 
  • Offer particular help to those who still have no power and no communications. 
  • Call other community members, especially the elderly and isolated just for a chat.  Showing that someone cares is an important community service especially after such an event.
  • Go to aid hubs and offer services as a volunteer.  Wear your Rotary shirt!
If offering assistance as a club project be sure to wear identifying clothing and name badge. Also ensure the activity is registered as a club project and recoded in the Board minutes as such.
Rotary’s Major Role in Recovery
The real strength of Rotary and a major source of its great reputation in the community is its role in re-building community after such an event.
Victorians count the cost after violent storm sends trees crashing through  homes - ABC NewsDamage to property and business is usually taken care of by first responders in the immediate aftermath and by insurance companies working with local tradespeople in the ensuing months.
When all this initial activity is underway, it will become clear what community infrastructure will not be restored through these processes.  This is where Rotary can help and clubs local to the damage can assess the projects that need to be undertaken.  Examples may be;
  • Community structures have been repaired but damage to the surrounds or gardens not
  • Gathering places restored but the equipment and supplies have not been replaced / replenished
  • Positive mental health activities such as a community barbeque, festival or other celebration
Examples of places that may need Rotary assistance are;
  • Community halls
  • Youth clubs
  • Community Houses
  • Historic places
  • Public / State / National parks
  • Community Health Centres
  • Guide / Scout halls
… and so on.
Funding, Assistance and Communication
Melbourne weather: Man dies in floodwaters as Victoria begins storm  clean-up | Herald SunWhen clubs start to put such projects together it is important for them to communicate their plans and seek assistance. 
For volunteer help and funding input consider the following;
  • Communicate your planned project(s) to the District Community Chair – Bernadette Vanderwolde (RC Boronia).
  • Ensure your AG knows your plans and that the project(s) have been discussed at Cluster level
  • Seek help from clubs in D9810 through the AG network, the District newsletter, District Leadership meetings and personal contacts.
  • Apply for a Rotary Foundation District Grant
  • Seek volunteers from the community through FaceBook, local media and community noticeboards
A Special Offer of Assistance
Graphical user interface, text, applicationDescription automatically generatedFollowing overseas reporting of the storm damage PRIP Ian Riseley received a message from the Rotary GB&I Disaster Recovery Trust offering assistance for disaster recovery projects.  To find out more about this organisation check their website at https://www.rotarygbi.org/projects/disaster-relief/disaster-recovery-trust/  and their FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/RotaryDisasterRecoveryTrust/
A Rotary Opportunity
Although it may seem inappropriate to mention at a time like this, remember that every volunteering activity and every community project is an opportunity to remind the community of the great work done by Rotary.  Be sure to wear your Rotary gear (shirt, jacket, hat, hi-viz, etc.).  Remember to have someone take a few pics of Rotarians in action and post them on your website and FaceBook. If appropriate take a banner or a sandwich board with your club logo.  Make sure your community knows the input and impact of your club.   
Message from DG Alma and DGE Daryl
Two people smilingDescription automatically generated with medium confidenceBoth Daryl and I have had communication from Rotarians impacted directly or indirectly by this terrible storm.  We urge all Rotarians to look to mutual emotional support.  Remember that those in the affected area have lived through a very frightening experience even if they suffered no personal or property damage.  We are both determined to be as supportive as possible to Rotary clubs planning to undertake community recovery projects.  For advice or help in anything related to recovery projects and activities, please be in touch. 
We also urge all clubs in the District to consider including in their planning for the coming year some contingency in volunteer and financial support for the community projects that will undoubtedly emerge from this event.
Thank you all for the concern and determination to assist.  Please remember the aftermath of this event will be felt for a long time to come and community healing and repair will be a long term undertaking.