Article submitted by District Governor Adrian Froggatt

With the catastrophic fire destruction across East Gippsland, there is going to be a significant recovery effort to rebuild communities for an extended period.
 
The expectation is that even more destruction is to come, as adverse fire conditions are predicted in the coming days. The extremely dry drought conditions of East Gippsland mean some fires could potentially continue to burn for months. This has been a pretty grim way to begin the new 2020 year.
 
Rotary, however, has been quick to spring into action. On New Year’s Day District Emergency Chair PDG Janne Speirs and I attended an interest meeting in Bairnsdale convened by AG Anne Cross, to consider how best the coordinated Rotary Cluster could respond to this emergency and the future recovery. 
 
More than 20 interested people attended and from this a very strong committee of 5 plus Secretary and Treasurer was formed under the Chair of Pearl Findlay-James. Our new East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid committee is for the whole of East Gippsland and can be reached at eastgrotaryfireaid@gmail.com.
 
Many Rotary Clubs have contacted PDG Janne, myself, Secretary Jane, AGs and the new East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid committee keen to assist. This is wonderful and truly representative of the spirit of Rotary. Fund raising initially is the most urgent requirement then later labour from volunteers will be needed to assist with recovery efforts like fencing and clean ups. Vouchers will be used to provide material assistance with a number of traders already willing to accept vouchers from Rotary. We will be keeping away from used clothing, water, and food distribution as these areas are well covered by other agencies.
 
To avoid confusion, I would like to explain the 3 ways to donate.
 
1. Donation to District 9820 Disaster Relief Account (633000 / 137927174)
We are encouraging clubs to donate in the first instance to the District Emergency Fund to replenish the $10k District has committed to the new East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid Committee. Once donations exceed the $10k they will be passed in full to the Committee. This is the preferred donation method in these early stages.
 
2. Donation to East Gipplaand Rotary Fire Committee
This is an account of the Rotary Club of Bairnsdale with the funds controlled by the East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid Committee. Bank donations to Rotary Club of Bairnsdale – Projects Account 633000 / 165960451.
 
3. Donation to RAWC National Fire Appeal
This is the only option for those who can only donate to a recipient with DGR (Donor Gift Recipient) status, or those who want tax deductibility on their donations.  RAWCS have created a single appeal with the link to donate prominently at the top of their home page at www.rawcs.org.au. Donors need to tag their donation to “East Gippsland” otherwise we may not receive all that we should. RAWCS do keep 2.75% of the donations for administration.
 
At time of writing this, clubs and individual Rotarians are already responding. This is wonderful to hear. Thank you all very much.
 
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