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Report on the first three months of recovery activity

As I write this newsletter, we are all experiencing the severe restrictions imposed on us during this COVID-19 pandemic as governments attempt to curtail the spread of the virus.  I hope all readers are safe and coping with the self-isolation rules.
 
It is three months since devastating bushfires tore through more than 300,000 hectares in the Upper Murray region of North-Eastern Victoria.  Located in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, this scenic region is one of rolling hills and deep valleys, farms and wide pastures.  Over 18,000 head of stock were lost in the fires and many more were sent to market as thousands of kilometeres of fencing were destroyed and containment of stock was impossible. 
 
Frightening fires raged around the Towong Shire towns of Walwa and Corryong - both were saved.  Smaller towns including Cudgewa, Berringama, Jingellic, Tooma, Towong and Colac Colac and the valley communities of Nariel, Biggara and Thowgla suffered extensive damage. 
 
Many communities were isolated for weeks as access was severely limited; hence, help was slow to arrive.  The Salvation Army recently received another 258 registrations for help from families in need, highlighting the time it has taken for some to reach out for assistance while dealing with shock and devastation.  More than fifty primary residences and around 150 other buildings have been destroyed.  Many more were damaged by the thick smoke that accompanied the flames and gale force winds. 
 

FENCING

Fencing projects were an early priority to help contain stock.  Teams at Corryong, organised by the Rotary Club of Belvoir Wodonga, provided 600 volunteers and approximately 1,500 hours of work over a five-week period. 130 farmers were assisted.
 
The Uniting Church Fencing Team at Cudgewa with the support of 60 volunteers, has completed 2,000 hours of volunteer work, erecting 35 kilometres of fencing while assisting 30 farmers.  More work is to be done.
 
BlazeAid Corryong teams and 398 volunteers, led by coordinator Bill Gerritsen (Rotary Club of Appin Park) have cleared more than 140 kilometres of burnt fencing and completed 78.5 kilometres of new fencing. 193 farmers have registered for assistance.
BlazeAid also had fencing camps at Tooma and Jingellic and more work is to be done there also.  More than 100 farmers have registered for assistance.
 
Many Rotarians from clubs throughout the district have worked with the fencing teams and  reported that it was an amazing and worthwhile experience.  Currently fencing work has ceased during this period of self-isolation.
 

FODDER AND PELLET FEED

Truckloads of hay, organised by district 9790 rotary clubs, have regularly made their way to needy farmers in the Upper Murray, as previously mentioned in Bushfire Recovery Updates.  
 
A recent delivery of 22 pallets of dairy pellet feed has been made to Corryong suppliers for distribution to needy farmers.  Forty five farmers have each received 15 bags of pellets, with more to follow to others in need.
 
Geoff Dinning has been co-ordinating the fodder and pellet feed projects.
 
 

BACK TO SCHOOL PACKS

 
All students attending the Corryong Catholic and P-12 Government School (340) were provided with a Back to School Pack of books and stationary, while 38 year seven students also received a computer to start the school year.  This project, at a cost of $59,150 has been completed, thanks to donations from rotary clubs and individuals.
 
 

SHIPPING CONTAINERS

 
With the loss of homes and other buildings there has been an urgent need for shipping containers.  The Victorian Transport Authority originally promised to make containers available, but unfortunately that offer did not materialise.  An adjoining rotary district 9800 - generously offered to provide 15 containers (at a cost to them - D9800 - of $3,500 - $4,000 per container) for distribution in our district at a cost to our district of only $500 for each container - a wonderful contribution to our Bushfire Recovery. 
 
To date seven containers have arrived in Corryong for distribution and more will follow.  Those in need of containers have been identified and assistance will be given to position them on properties.
 
 

AIR PURIFIER PROJECT FOR ALPINE HEALTH

 
The Rotary Clubs of Myrtleford, Mt Beauty and Bright are working on a project to provide air purifiers in the Myrtleford, Bright and Mt Beauty Hospitals. Details of this project were provided in the last Bushfire Recovery Update.  Mark Lucey, president of the Rotary Club of Mount Beauty, is co-ordinating this program.
 
 
Members from the Rotary Club of Corryong assisted by many  D9790 clubs, have been working tirelessly over the three months with their communities, assisting in the clean-up process. Their catering team has provided services at many community activities such as the recent All Stars football match at Cudgewa and the Family Day at Khancoban Dam.  They have provided amazing support for their communities and in turn have been supported by Rotarians from many clubs throughout the district.
 
 
With the assistance of an Appin Park Rotarian, students at FCJ College Benalla have been matched with students from the P-12 College Corryong to create student partnerships.
 
A Facebook request from students in Numurkah for books resulted in a wonderful collection of both children and adult books.  They were delivered to Corryong and distributed to the pre-school, schools and nursing home as well as the primary school in Walwa.
 
 
The Rotary Club of Belvoir Wodonga organised health and wellbeing evenings with Dennis Hoiberg, at Corryong and Tintaldra.  Seventy five people attended.
 
 
I wish all Rotarians and friends good health during these extremely difficult times as we try different ways to connect and support one another.
 
 
 
PDG Bernie Bott, Chairman
District 9790 Bushfire Recovery Committee
After a meeting of all Australia District Governors, it has been decided to suspend the Youth Exchange Program for 12 months nationally in all formats. 
This will mean there will be no inbound students arriving from overseas in July/August 2020, and there will be no outbound students in January 2021. 
We are hoping, depending on the COVID-19 situation, that we may be able to accept inbound students again in July/August 2021, and our next group of outbounds will be in January 2022. 
We appreciate the decision of the DGs and it is in the best interest of not only the program, but also all people associated with this truly life changing youth program of Rotary International. 
 
Stay safe and well
 
Yours in Rotary
 
Bruce McIntyre, Chairman, District 9790 Youth Exchange
March 25th, 2020
 
BUSHFIRE RECOVERY COMMITTEE ROLE
 
CHAIRMANS REPORT
District Governor Brian Peters (D9790) has implemented a Bushfire Recovery Commitee (BRC) to oversee potential activities to assist the Upper Murray communities affected by the recent fires.
The role of the Committee is to meet and speak with the various communities to establish what assistance they require; this in light of the fact that it is a different set of circumstances to the Black Friday fires of 2009, as no public buildings have been affected in these fires.
We are to liaise with the local Rotary Clubs and determine what support/actions they can provide, or what assistance they may require going forward.
To this end, PP Geoff Dinning has the role of Project Co-ordinator. Geoff will record all nominated projects for discussion by the committee. The recommendations of prospective projects would come from the committee members who have had frequent visits to the fire-affected areas as well as local Rotary Clubs and local Communities.
All projects with final costings, forwarded by the Project Co-ordinator, will be discussed by the BRC committee. Upon final agreement of which projects are to be adopted, they will be forwarded to the District Governor of the day for their final approval. Only projects that have been considered by the BRC will be approved, no third party endorsements outside of this will be considered unless instructed by the District Governor.
A report of all approved projects, and status of completion, will be forwarded to the next and future District 9790 Board of Management Committee meetings.                                                         
To assist PP Rosemary Freeman (secretary) to create a regular newsletter, we need feedback from Clubs and Rotarians on new projects and or information on completed projects. The newsletter will provide to the DG, District Clubs, a complete picture of the Upper Murray region bushfire recovery.
 
Chairman Bushfire Recovery Committee
Bernie Bott PDG.
In response to the devastating bushfires in north eastern Victoria and New South Wales a district 9790 Bushfire Working Group was formed early in the New Year, under the direction of DG Brian Peters.  The aim of the group was to assess and plan what district could do to help the communities impacted, particularly those communities in Corryong and the surrounding Upper Murray region.  The group comprised DG Brian Peters, District Community Service Chair Rosemary Freeman, Rotarians with experience from previous bushfires DGN Anne Reid and PDG Phil Clancy and local Rotarians with expertise in the logistics of providing aid to the community - Geoff Dinning and Murray Jones. The region’s AG Margaret Crisp, who knows the area, the people affected - Corryong Rotary Club is in her group of clubs - is an integral member of the group.  Margaret has connections with local community groups, the Towong Shire and first responder aid agencies.
 
The initial requests from the affected communities were for hay and dairy stock feed, agistment of livestock and repair/replacement of boundary fences.  The District 9790 Bushfire Recovery Project subsequently developed to respond to these requests to support the communities and Rotary clubs in our district impacted by the disastrous events.
Image may contain: mountain and outdoor
Rotary Australia District Governors have established a central fund into which all Australians can donate to support the victims of the devastating bush fires ravaging our country.

Please spread this message widely.
A link to the fund can be found on the main page of the RAWCS (Rotary Australia World Community Service) website: https://rawcs.org.au/

International donations can be made via bank transfer:
SWIFT Code: CTBAAU2S
Commonwealth Bank
Rotary Australia Relief Fund
BSB: 067105
Account: 10519888
Reference: 68/2019-20
Here is the July 2019 edition of the Rotary Leader.
There are stories about membership, projects, and ways to support disaster recovery.
I can honestly say that on a personal level, apart from being a father to six children, this is one of the proudest moments of my life. It is an absolute honour to have been chosen, trained and inducted as a District Governor and I truly look forward to working with my team, the Clubs and all Rotarians in representing you to the best of my ability.
 
You may have heard me say that I didn’t consciously join Rotary…I joined a Club where my friends were. Seven years ago I didn’t know what Rotary did. Sure I had travelled a lot overseas on business and didn’t spend a lot of time in my community, but to be ignorant of the great work Rotary does? How could this be?
 
One chance remark in a whisky club meeting by a member of what’s become my Rotary Club led to me asking my good friend, Rob Meers, to take me to the Rotary Club of Albury West. The rest is history. I took to Rotary like a duck to water.
 
I used to work for Mars, Inc and I always knew that wherever i travelled to for business if I got into trouble I could always turn to Mars for support - it’s a worldwide business.
 
Mars is also governed by the Five Principles of Mars - Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom. Those principles guide the way Mars does business and the ethics they use in dealing with consumers, the environment and trading partners.
 
So as a Rotarian I can pretty well visit any country in the world and I have a support network I can call on if I’m in strife.
 
And, of course, Rotary is guided by the Four Way Test
  • Is it the Truth?
  • Is it Fair to all concerned?
  • Will it Build Goodwill and better friendships?
  • Will it be Beneficial to all concerned.
 
The parallel of how these two organisations operate is not lost on me.
 
When I arrived in Australia in 1983 the population was 15 million. Today it is 25 million and we are dealing with falling memberships and Districts being consolidated.
 
Our District encompasses some of the fastest growing demographics in Australia.
  • Mitchell Shire is poised to go from 50,000 to 250,000 in 10-15 years.
  • Mickleham is the fastest growing suburb in SE Australia.
  • The train line has been extended out to Mernda.
  • I thought Epping was a little like Whittlesea until I drove through it last year - it took me 20 minutes to drive through and we weren’t successful in establishing a Rotary Club there?
  • Albury Wodonga is also growing fast - another 30-40,000 in the next 10-15 years.
 
We have to grow. Not growing is a little bit like holding your breath - if you’re successful the outcome isn’t very good.
 
As we move into the new Rotary year I just want to reiterate my main objectives for 2019-20:
  • A healthy District;
  • membership maintained (but preferably increased);
  • plans for more Clubs in key growth areas;
  • and FUN, FUN, FUN. Let’s celebrate the FUN we have in Rotary.
 
As I’ve said before I am very much looking forward to visiting all the Clubs, working with you, your Assistant Governors and my District Team, having FUN and another successful Rotary year for 2019-20.
 
I’m also looking forward to our District Conference to be held in Albury Wodonga, 20-22 March 2020. Come and join us....come and join Murray!
 
Fellow Rotarians it’s time for
 
“ROTARY CONNECTS THE WORLD”
 
Let’s do it.

 

Brian
Here is a video from RI President 2019-2020 Mark Daniel Maloney announcing the Rotary Theme for 2019-2020
https://vimeopro.com/rotary/2019-international-assembly/video/310884339
 
General Secretary John Hewko speaking about membership
https://vimeopro.com/rotary/2019-international-assembly/video/310889662
 

Inspire Rotary March 2019 is out now.

https://issuu.com/rotaryinternationaldistrict9790/docs/inspireinrotary_march2019
 
In 2017-18 the Rotary Foundation raised in excess of US$415 million, primarily through Rotarians, Rotary Clubs and Friends of Rotary. 92% of the annual expenditure goes towards projects and programs aimed at “doing good in the World”. 2% is administration and 6% promotion. The Rotary Foundation has been awarded a four-star rating by the Charity Navigator for eight consecutive years.
 

Let's Celebrate!   Gala Dinner on the 16th of March

The Rotary Foundation Rotarians in Rotary International District 9790 are proud of their Foundation and the work that is done throughout the world. We are also proud of the contributions made to our Foundation by the Rotarians, and Rotary clubs in the District.
Our annual dinner is a time to celebrate the good works of The Rotary Foundation and the excellent support from the members and clubs.
This dinner is open to all Rotarians and friends.  Come along and see Past RI President Bill Boyd.
See below to book or donate now!
 
Rotex has been a long time coming in our Rotary District, 9790. There has been a select and dedicated group of past exchange students who have been working to create Rotex as a bonafide club in the District. As of these past couple of weeks, all the hard work has paid off! We have become an official Rotary Alumni Association, and the first Rotex club in District 9790.
 
5 years of past exchange students L-R: Jack Kadaoui (2015), James Richardson (2014), Nicola Gates (2013), Rachael Feldtmann & Gab Jeffs (2012), Sarah McNamara (2011).

Rotex is a Rotary alumni association that exists to establish and maintain a common bond among Rotary Youth Exchange alumni, as well as to provide past exchange students the opportunity for involvement in Rotary service directly relating to Youth Exchange programs. Rotex is open to all former Rotary Youth Exchange participants who have successfully completed the program, including long term and short term exchange.
Have you seen the District 9790 facebook page.
 
If you haven't then check it out.  It isn't getting enough use at the moment because you haven't liked it.  Check it out and like us so that you are kept up to date with what is going on at District.
 
 
 

Welcome to the District 9790 Website!

 DG Brian Peters welcomes you
 

 
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