When a devastating earthquake hit New Zealand in February 2011, Lions and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) mobilized more than US$546,000 to support relief efforts.
The magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, killing at least 180 and injuring hundreds more. Thousands were left homeless, and clean drinking water was compromised, so Lions provided large quantities of bottled water throughout Christchurch.
Lions were also active in operating water stations, assisting at relief centers, delivering hot meals and providing grocery and fuel vouchers. They provided supplies to repair homes, supported transitional shelters and offered social services to those in need. Lions continue to be focused on the re-development of services for the elderly, disabled and visually impaired who were impacted by the earthquake.
LCIF continues its New Zealand relief efforts by supporting social services, including counseling and therapeutic activities for victims, especially children.
Many Lions were personally been impacted by the disaster, yet they gave their time and service to help their neighbors. "At an emergency meeting of the Earthquake Committee, I spoke to one Lion who had damage to his house, his place of work was closed, he had no power, water or sewerage connections yet was still attending a Lions meeting to see how he could assist the citizens of Christchurch," said Past International Director Ron Luxton.
Inspired by the invaluable contributions made through Lions ALERT, Lions in New Zealand also embarked on a campaign to promote the disaster relief program. Started in 2007, the program serves to provide Lions with a standardized structure and networks to deliver needed services to people in emergency situations.
"Lions continue to give hope for a brighter tomorrow through ongoing relief efforts in Christchurch. It's going to take a long time to recover and rebuild, but Lions of the world and Lions in New Zealand remain committed," said Past International President Sid L. Scruggs, III.