It is a tragic and sad time for the people of Ukraine and the world.
At Rotary, we are deeply concerned by the devastating situation in Ukraine and the escalating loss of life and humanitarian hardship there. Continued military action against Ukraine will not only devastate the region, but also risk spreading tragic consequences across Europe and the world.
As one of the world’s largest humanitarian organisations, we have made peace the cornerstone of our global mission.
Following a meeting this afternoon with Rotary International General Secretary, John Hewko, which included more than 40 Rotarian leaders from Ukraine and neighbouring countries, plans have been put in place for Rotary to respond and support the horrific and ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
On a global level, a central disaster response fund is being launched, which will be coordinated through The Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees. Our efforts will principally focus on refugees escaping the war.
Collaboration has also begun with ShelterBox, our global partner in disaster response, and they are in direct contact with Rotarians in Eastern Europe. As well as ShelterBox, Rotary is also in contact with other emergency response organisations including Red Cross and the United Nations to ensure our efforts are complementary and coordinated.
In Great Britain and Ireland, we have established an operational taskforce, which will be led by Allan Smith, Rotary GB&I Humanitarian Disaster Response Lead. This will give Rotarians, who are always so quick to respond with support in situations such as this, a central point of contact and assistance through their District International Team.
In addition, we have our own Rotary GB&I Disaster Recovery Trust, which can also act as a vehicle for channelling donations that can be used for the recovery phase of this crisis. An appeal will be established in due course.
Rotary International will be communicating directly with all members around the world, and will advise Rotarians on how they can provide humanitarian relief via My Rotary.
Our thoughts are very much with the people of Ukraine, and our fellow Rotary members. Rotary will do everything in its power to bring aid, support and peace to the region.