Lions will be there to lend a helping hand.
When a disaster occurs, Lions are there to support the community and its members. Support is provided through funding assistance, various projects and programs depending on the situation. See Disaster Relief | Lions Clubs International for more information about this from Lions International.
Role of the Disaster Relief Coordinator
The Disaster Relief Coordinator is the contact between Lions District C1, Lions District C2 and the Emergency Relief Functions Support Group within Housing SA. The Coordinator will endeavour to provide a Lions Club (or Clubs) as volunteers during relief and recovery operations as requested by the Government as part of a ‘declared emergency’ by the Police Commissioner. The Coordinator will endeavour to attend regular meetings with other community organisations such as Rotary, Red Cross, Salvation Army, CWA and Pastoral Support, just to name a few. These meetings serve as a platform to discuss how a new event should dealt with, and how past events were handled.
Can we improve the way it should be handled?
Definition of a Disaster
Disasters may include drought, bushfires, flooding, and earthquakes, just to name a few.
The question in today’s environment is whether a Covid-19 lockdown (and similar future events) can be classified as a Disaster?
What happens in the case of a ‘Declared emergency’
When tasked by the Government, the role of Lions is to cater for affected people and relief centre staff for as long as is required.
We do not know when a disaster will occur, the form it will take, the areas it will affect, the relief effort required during, or the recovery effort post the disaster event. Lions will be there on the ground, when and where needed. Lions do more than cook for people in an emergency, Lions will lend an ear and listen to people who have been through trauma, apply for grants, provide, and distribute donations, and act as may be required at the time.
Do we respond when there is a Disaster but it’s NOT a ‘Declared emergency’
It is not in the general description of the Coordinators role to get involved in situations where it is not a declared emergency. However, the District Governor can declare an ‘emergency’ at anytime based on an event as defined in the definition above. In this case it allows immediate provision of relief funds, and we will get involved. These funds will then be given to local Clubs to be used in accordance with pre-set guidelines. It is up to local Clubs to raise awareness of a situation that may need assistance.
If we can help in any way, it may be better to discuss the situation with us rather than just ignoring it. An example of this could be a fire in a Silo that affects the people around us. Do we offer to help, or do we just ignore it? Who else is helping?
Remember we are a service organisation first and foremost.
Be prepared to assist and advise your ability to assist to the Coordinator (your Clubs will be asked for this). We suggest you make contact with other local Volunteer organisations and make them aware we as Lions and especially your Club are there to help if needed.
Keep safe, and make sure your Barbeques/Donut and Chip Vans are ready to serve!
Gerry van Niekerk
Disaster Relief Coordinator
0415 340 805