Local Rotarians, Students Accepting Donations for Hurricane Matthew Victims
By Staff Reporter
In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which caused death and wrought destruction in the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, some local Rotarians are accepting donations to provide disaster assistance.
“Many of you are inquiring how we/you can help victims of Hurricane Matthew in our district, other parts of the country, and other parts of the world,” Mathieu Daquin, president of the Rotary Club of Boca Raton Sunset said in an email to his members. “District 6930 has partnered with two organizations that have the mechanisms and networks set up to make sure the funds donated and help needed get to the right people.”
The Rotary Club of Boca Raton Sunset is one of six Rotary clubs in Boca Raton.
Rotary International has renamed the old Haiti Earthquake Disaster DAF to the Hurricane Disaster Relief DAF, Daquin continued.
“This is NOT solely designated for Haiti anymore,” he said. “Donors can, if they desire, specify the place they want their donation to go on their donation form.”
The hurricane killed at least 36 people across five Southeastern states.
The Category 4 storm also affected an estimated 330,000 Haitians including 6,400 who are living in shelters, according to published reports. Extensive damage to main bridges and other transportation networks have left some areas cut off and vulnerable.
According to Mourad Wahba, the United Nations secretary general’s deputy special representative for Haiti, hospitals are under severe strain and water is in short supply. Authorities also say contaminated water supplies threaten to lead to a surge in cholera outbreak, similar to what happened after the earthquake in 2010.
Aerial footage from the hardest-hit towns showed a ruined landscape of metal shanties with roofs blown away, downed trees everywhere and mud from overflowing rivers covering the ground.
Matthew destroyed at least 80 percent of crops in some areas, so people will head from the countryside into cities. And the slums of cities like Port-au-Prince and even towns in the south will only grow and worsen, Wahba said in published reports.
“The people there have lost their homes, and they’ve lost everything in their homes,” said Ruthnie Auguste, the student president of KOP Mentoring Network, a Delray Beach-based mentoring program, which has been gathering supplies for the Haitian children and their families. “So, whatever we can do to help out, would be appreciated.”
Relief agencies have been experiencing difficulties delivering food and supplies because major roads and bridges have been wiped out.
The United States has dispatched a Navy ship, the USS Mesa Verde, whose 300 Marines will add to the 250 personnel and nine helicopters already ordered to help with search-and-rescue efforts, including medical evacuations, and transporting supplies.
“We express our sympathies to everyone who was affected by this monster hurricane, and particularly those who lost their loved ones,” said Auguste, 17, a senior at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, and a Haiti native. “As a youth mentoring organization we are especially sympathetic towards those children who are suffering in one way or another as a result of this disaster.”
The Delray Beach-based KOPMN is collecting items like anti-bacterial bar soap, antibiotic ointment, aspirin/Tylenol, blankets, medicine, first aid kits, flashlights, gauze, baby food, baby formula, bandages, batteries, diapers, toothbrushes, small toothpaste (sample size), shampoo (sample size), soaps, hand sanitizer, hygiene kits, brushes, combs, moisturizer, lotion, feminine products, kitchen, toiletries, bug spray, clothing, non-perishable food, pillows, sheets/pillow cases, hair clips, headbands and ponytail holders, cleaning supplies and water purification tablets, Auguste said.
This is not the first time KOPMN has gathered supplies or accepted donations for disaster relief. The students sent supplies to their counterparts in the Bahamas in the past and collected and delivered school supplies to their peers in Punta Gorda and Fort Pierce after hurricanes Charley and Frances destroyed both communities in 2004.
Donations to the DAF can be made through Rotary.org. For more information, contact the District Disaster Chair Phil Lustig at 561-212-6554 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To donate supplies of for more information, call KOPMN’s relief line at 561-231-2125.