We know that disasters can devastate a community, leaving people in urgent need of medical care, housing, and other necessities. Unlike most natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a global impact that affects all of us. Rotarians like you are people of action even in a time of crisis, and Rotary is uniquely prepared to help communities around the world. 

Clubs and districts can apply for Rotary disaster response grants to support COVID-19 relief efforts. These grants can be used to provide supplies and medical care and to support rebuilding efforts. 

The Rotary Foundation Trustees recently approved placing $1 million in our Disaster Response Fund to make these grants immediately available for applications related to COVID-19. To make sure these grants can remain available, we’re asking for personal contributions to the Disaster Response Fund. Your contribution will support grants that help Rotarians care for and protect people in their local communities and around the world. Make a gift to the Disaster Response Fund now.

Thank you for your dedication and service on behalf of Rotary.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed South Africa and declared a national state of disaster. The country is well prepared to deal with the virus and emergency and rapid response systems have been set up. We await formal announcements from Mozambique, eSwatini and Botswana.

For us as leaders in the community and Rotary, creating unnecessary panic and concern will not do any good, thus I urge everybody to act responsibly. Stay calm and consider very carefully what you send out on a WhatsApp, SMS or email, as well as the consequences of what you distribute. The World Health Organization is a trusted source of information https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public, as well as https://sacoronavirus.co.za/

I have had a messages and questions regarding Rotary District 9400 guidelines on cancelling of club meetings, training, events and fundraisers. The decision to cancel or continue with club meetings is at the discretion and decision of your club members. You could also investigate the option to host meetings online. Life must carry on … We need to show our community that we, as Rotarians, are not in a state of panic. It is unfortunate that some sporting and fundraising events, in South Africa of 100 people or more, should be postponed, and this is the correct thing to do. As we feel it is premature to make an informed decision whether to cancel Discon 2020, we will at this stage continue with Discon 2020 (26 to 28 June 2020) in Maputo, and the planning around the event, making sure all attendees’ safety will be protected.