Who could better understand the plight of people affected by the earthquake in Japan, than those affected by the Christchurch earthquake just a few days earlier?
Following the massive Christchurch earthquake on 22 February, Japanese Rotarians were among the first to respond with a large donation to the Rotary New Zealand Canterbury Earthquake Fund.
Now New Zealandâ€™s Rotarians are rallying to reciprocate following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on 11 March.
New Zealanders and especially those who experienced the horror and heartbreak in Canterbury feel empathy for people in Japan who have lost or are missing loved ones, says Margaret Reeve, district governor for Canterbury and the upper South Island for Rotary New Zealand.
â€œWe are not sure just what we can contribute considering the support people in our local communities need and the massive rebuild we face. But this is time to come together and help people who were the first to rally to assist us,â€ Reeve says.
International donations from Rotary clubs throughout the world, including Japan, Brazil, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom, have contributed to more than $260,000 that has poured into the Rotary New Zealand World Community Service (RNZWCS).
â€œI am sure Rotarians throughout New Zealand in the coming weeks will dig deep again and help the Japanese,â€ Reeve says. â€œWe will be communicating among clubs to let them know just how they will be able to do that.â€
Rotarians in Christchurch are continuing to work alongside other agencies to help hand out supplies, clean up and support people. The money Rotary has raised is being 100% channelled into helping the recovery and rebuild of the region.
Rotary has 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries.