Nicole Brown and Alecia Dimar 0000-00-00 00:00:00
LCIF Rebuilds Communities When disasters occur, Lions are often among the first people on the scene, accessing the damage and responding to immediate needs. Setting Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) apart from other organizations are the longterm reconstruction efforts to rebuild homes, schools, hospitals and community centers, long after other groups leave the disaster site. In addition to nearly $2 million awarded yearly for emergency grants, LCIF provides millions for major catastrophe long-term reconstruction efforts. The China earthquake in May 2008, the Gujarat earthquake nine years ago in India and Hurricane Katrina are three examples that demonstrate Lions’ commitment to rebuilding communities and lives through LCIF. Lions Village Nang Chong Chen’s family of three lost everything in the May 2008 earthquake that devastated her small village in Sichuan Province in central China. They lived in tents provided by Lions until the government set up temporary prefabricated homes. In October, Chen and her family moved into their newly built home in Peng Hua Lions Village. Her house is part of a two-phase project to construct more than 150 homes in the Lions village. A plaque above each door includes the Lions logo and reads: “Hand in hand, heart in heart, to rebuild our home.” A total of 80 homes were handed over to families in October during a dedication ceremony attended by LCIF Chairperson Al Brandel and his wife, Dr. Maureen Murphy, Vice President Wing-Kun Tam, nearly 50 Lions clubs members from throughout China and Hong Kong & Macau, the local vice mayor and other local dignitaries. The dedication marked a year and a half since the earthquake. “This is a good day for the local people and fellow Lions. I can see with my own eyes the changes that have made here by Lions,” said Tam, who led the organizing committee for reconstruction projects and visited the area more than four times. Lions worked hand in hand with the villages on the construction. Many Lions have visited the village, helping with reconstruction, driving supplies, overseeing the building process and ensuring funds were well-spent. Some Lions made the difficult trip more than 10 times. Lions worked with the Chinese government and relief organizations to provide immediate emergency relief. They set up tents in villages, established makeshift schools, and provided other needed relief items such as blankets, food and medicine. With a $200,000 grant from LCIF, Lions in MD 101 in Sweden provided additional tents for relief workers and victims. Lions around the world also contributed generously, enabling LCIF to award more than $3 million for long-term reconstruction projects. Three primary schools in Gansu Province were completed in July 2009 in time for the 2009- 2010 school year. In Shinzi Village, near Yangjin, Lions purchased land to relocate graves, build a road, and construct a school, hospital and homes. In gratitude, Chen wants all Lions to know: “I am enjoying my new life in my new home.” Rebuilding in India The Gujarat earthquake was the worst India had seen in 180 years, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale and equal to releasing 4.5 million tons of dynamite on the region. On that deadly day in January 2001, more than 13,800 people died and 167,000 more were injured. In total, the disaster affected 7,633 villages in India, damaging more than one million homes. Within 30 minutes of the earthquake, local Lions launched emergency relief operations to bring immediate aid to those affected. Lions clubs around the region supported relief efforts by providing water, food, clothing, tents and other essential supplies. Additionally, Lions provided necessary medical facilities including temporary hospitals and health centers to provide all types of medical aid and surgeries. LCIF also responded quickly to the devastation, awarding three emergency grants for $10,000 each within 48 hours of the disaster. “Through LCIF, Lions were at the scene providing relief within days of the disaster,” said Rohit Mehta, past international president of Lions Clubs International. “Nearly 10 years later, Lions and LCIF have fulfilled their promise of seeing through long-term reconstruction projects to rebuild the affected communities.” Lions’ commitment stretched far beyond providing immediate relief and sought to rebuild the villages destroyed by the earthquake. A total of $2.5 million, including a $500,000 major catastrophe grant and $1.7 million in restricted donations, was allocated for long-term reconstruction projects. LCIF awarded an additional major catastrophe grant for $300,000 in 2004 to construct vital infrastructure for Lions housing colonies. More than 750 homes now provide housing for families in Kutch and Bet Dwarka, many of whom lost everything during the earthquake. Primary schools have been built in 20 villages throughout the Rajkot District, where students previously had no place to learn because of the damaged infrastructure. In addition, the LNM Group Lions Hospital was constructed at Bhuj. LSU-Lions Eye Clinic The Lions Clubs International-LSU Eye Clinic, funded through a LCIF grant of $500,000, was dedicated and opened in December 2008. The clinic provides vision care for the medically impoverished and for patients sponsored by Lions clubs in Louisiana. LCIF’s Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Program, which provides support for essential public facilities and programs that help damaged regions recover, made funding for the clinic possible. “For the first time since Hurricane Katrina, there is a facility devoted specifically to the provision of eye care for people in the greater New Orleans area who do not have health insurance, thanks to this generous gift from LCIF,” said Dr. Bruce A. Barron, a clinical professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at LSU. The eye clinic is just one example of a project that is rebuilding communities impacted by Hurricane Katrina. LCIF and Lions mobilized more than $5 million through designated donations and a major catastrophe grant to fund the reconstruction of schools, community centers and medical facilities in four Gulf Coast states. LCIF is committed to rebuilding areas devastated by disasters. Through LCIF, Lions are able to conduct large-scale humanitarian service projects that rebuild lives and communities after disasters strike.
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