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Nth Harbour Rotary Club donates to tsunami relief

North Harbour Rotary Club donates to tsunami relief
November 25, 2005

For many people around the world the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami has become just a memory, rather than an ongoing and urgent disaster relief programme.

But not in North Shore City. Members of The Rotary Club of North Harbour this morning voted to donate sufficient funds to build another house in the Sri Lankan village of Thalpitiya North.

The village is on the south-eastern corner of the country, where thousands of people died as seas inundated the coastal plain, or were injured when they were swept through damaged buildings and floating debris.

Club president Alison Geddes says club members were enthusiastic in their support of the donation, especially with the first anniversary of the event approaching.

"We know there is a significant Sri Lankan community in North Shore City, and we feel for them, as well as their families and friends at home," says Ms Geddes.

The city's civil defence manager and Rotarian David Keay, who travelled to Sri Lanka soon after the tsunami struck, said it was heart-warming to see the generosity of the club.

"Their donation would provide another house for a family where thousands were still without proper shelter, livelihoods and proper sanitation.

"The generosity of New Zealanders and of our Government, which gave to the various aid agencies dollar for dollar, has been amazing. But the rebuilding programme will take years, and this donation underlines the need to continue to provide money, manpower and materials to those so badly affected," Mr Keay says.

North Shore City Council staff, through their fund raising programme Operation Phoenix North Shore, and with the support of the city council, have made a major contribution to the fund raising effort, and staff have travelled to Sri Lanka as volunteers to help re-building efforts and establish on-going relationships.

Convenor Dave Woods says enough money has now been raised from private and business donors to build three houses, but more is needed.

The need to keep up the pressure and to continue to provide help to countries affected by the tsunami was underlined at a meeting at the Fickling Centre, Three Kings, last night. Entitled "One Year On", the event was attended by people from a range of New Zealand cultural organisations representing the countries affected, as well as those from aid agencies and other organisations.

Phil Goff, Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time of the event, spoke of the effect the disaster had on New Zealand and the world, and reminded the audience that the first anniversary of the tsunami was a relatively short time away, and relief efforts needed to be ongoing.

North Shore City Council staff who are also North Harbour Rotarians include Ms Geddes, Mr Keay, Geoff Chamberlain and Chris Glanfield as well as Mayor George Wood.

Donations can be sent to Operation Phoenix North Shore, c/o North Shore City Council, Private Bag 93 500, Takapuna.

ENDS

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