With more than 6,000 people killed and 30,000 injured by Saturday's 5.9-magnitude earthquake on Indonesia's Java island, relief is in great need. Rotarians are busy providing grassroots aid for hungry villagers, who news outlets are reporting to be pleading for food.

By Tonya Weger
Rotary International News
Photos courtesy Rodolfo Balmater, district governor of District 3400

2 June 2006

"At this time of crisis, one thing appreciated in the Rotary organization is the benefit of the communications systems in place," says Rodolfo Balmater, district governor of District 3400. "This assurance provides hope to many local Rotarians that they are not alone in undertaking humanitarian works for the less privileged members of the community."

Rotarians in the neighboring cities of Solo City, Semarang City, Purwokerto, and Cirebon have donated necessities such as food, blankets, and medicine. And large-scale relief efforts are already taking place.

"As I see it, the inner strength of the Rotary organization is the value of the networking," Balmater says. "Our fellow Rotarians from Europe, USA, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and other parts of the world quickly assured Rotarians in Indonesia that they will help during the emergencies and also the forthcoming rehabilitation and reconstruction."

An estimated 130,000 homes, including Balmater's, were destroyed or damaged by the quake.

In response, London Rotarians quickly flew about 400 Shelterboxes, containing tents and necessary equipment, to the stricken region. The ShelterBox project began in England but has since spread to Australia, Canada, and the United States. The Rotarian-sponsored groups ship units globally to areas in need.

Read a related letter from President Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar and Trustee Chairman Frank Devlyn.

This article is © 2005 Rotary International and is provided for the non-profit use of Rotarians worldwide; commercial use is prohibited. The article may be quoted, excerpted or used in its entirety, but the information should not be changed or modified in any way. Read more information in the RI copyright notice.