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28th May 2008

Lions assist in China earthquake disaster

Update on Lions Clubs International Foundation's and Lions' response to the massive earthquake in China on May 12. LCIF and Lions around the world are mobilizing more than US$2 million in funding and relief supplies. Within 48 hours LCIF committed a major catastrophe grant of US$500,000. Lions in District 381 Guangdong in mainland China have raised more than US$450,000 and relief material including food and medicine, Lions in District 380 Shenzhen in mainland China have raised US$250,000 & relief material of US$200,000 and Lions in District 303 Hong Kong and Macau have raised US$160,000. A team of 40 Lions from Districts 381 and 380 traveled to Sichuan province to assist with hands-on relief efforts and the immediate and emerging needs of victims. The Lions are still in the area, disbursing relief materials including tents, medicine and food. Working with the Chinese Red Cross, Lions purchased 10 relief vehicles and ambulances. An organizing committee comprised of Lions from Districts 380, 381 and 303 and the China Council of Lions Clubs has been formed in order to plan and coordinate efficiently on the relief project. An immediate and long-term relief plan is being developed by local Lions to involve four stages: rescue, support, resettlement and reconstruction. Lions are planning to establish Lions 'tent' cities using 800 family size tents. Swedish Lions helped supply the tents and are also contributing 3,000 blankets. To support immediate and long-term needs, Lions around the world are responding. A designated LCIF account has been established to help channel donations for this disaster. Donations can be made online at www.lcif.org/donate noting “Lions China Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund” in the comments section. Lions of Ethiopia have donated $10,000; Chinese clubs in Vancouver, Canada expect to collect $100,000; and Taiwan Lions have committed $50,000. Lions in Brazil have partnered with a local company to provide 7,000 blankets. Many Lions are also helping by sharing this news with fellow Lions and the media. Frequent and massive aftershocks have caused further damages and casualties from the tremor. There remain significant and varying needs. As in past large-scale disasters, Lions are on the ground now and are also steadfastly committed to long-term relief and reconstruction. Days, week and months from now Lions will continue to provide aid. There is a great need for tents since many houses were toppled in the quake and the rainy season has begun. Generators and water purifying machines are also in urgent need and will be well-utilized. Lions are using immediate funds to purchase these items and are also requesting assistance to obtain these items. Chinese Lions and victims of the earthquake know they can count on Lions’ support to help as long as it takes to rebuild structures and rebuild lives. LCIF is in constant contact with local Lions to determine the best immediate and long-term response. These regular updates are being posted on the LCIF Web site in order to keep Lions and the general public up-to-date on the latest news and response efforts. Lions and LCIF's efforts have not gone unnoticed. News of the relief being provided has appeared on AOL, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Daily Herald and several other national newspapers around the world, including seven major daily papers in China. LCIF and Lions in China thank you for your continuous support for the victims in the affected areas. LCIF and Lions are proving the international humanitarian good we can accomplish together. (This update was sent via email by Jimmy Ross, LCIF Chairperson - 28th May 2008)