Rotary sets fresh water as priority for aid from Valley

Yamba Rotarian Ralph Watson shows a town shopper an aquabox and clothing which will be sent to tsunami victims.
Yamba Rotarian Ralph Watson shows a town shopper an aquabox and clothing which will be sent to tsunami victims.


AS thousands of people affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami scramble for fresh water and safety, Clarence Valley Rotary clubs have launched their own humanitarian relief appeal.

The clubs hope to send 54 aquaboxes as back up for fresh water.

The aquaboxes are valued at about $100 and include a water-treatment kit ? capable of purifying 1100 litres ? plus survival bags.

The Yamba club aims to send aquaboxes overseas as soon as possible and is calling on Clarence Coast residents for donations.

Proceeds from Saturday's Yamba Twilight Markets also will go towards purchasing about six boxes.

Some aquaboxes will be filled with other donated items, such as second-hand clothes and hardware, before being dispatched.

Yamba Rotary Club member Ralph Watson yesterday said the aquabox concept, started by an English Rotary club in 1992, had been used to fight disease in Albania, East Timor, Iraq, Rwanda and many other countries.

"We hope to raise enough money to buy as many aquaboxes, small and large, as we can to help the tsunami victims," he said.

"Local people are encouraged to donate non-breakable items to be included in the boxes.

"Items could be for eating, drinking, hygiene, babies, sleeping, shelter or other things like clothes and candles."

To make a monetary or other donation, or obtain more information, call Mr Watson on 66462813.

Grafton Midday Rotary community services director Lois Robinson said each club throughout the Clarence would aim to donate aquaboxes.

"We're really hoping all the clubs will be able to donate which would mean 54 boxes which is a lot of drinking water," Ms Robinson said.

Meanwhile, Yamba Twilight Markets co-ordinator and fellow Rotary member Chris Muldoon, yesterday said he was confident the event would raise enough money from collection buckets and wheel raffles to buy about five to six aquaboxes.

"We are hoping this year's market will be the best and most successful," he said.

"THE market has been going for over 10 years now and attracts thousands of people to the main street of Yamba.

"This Saturday we will have kids rides and about 25 stalls set-up selling a range of wares such as jewellery, shoes, bags, handmade children's clothes and swim wear, essential oils, soaps, some food etc."

The State Emergency Service (SES) also is expected to demonstrate a motor vehicle accident rescue.

The markets will be held in Yamba Street, Yamba, from 6-9pm, Saturday.

A portion of money raised from the night also will be donated to the Rotary Centenary Hospital Helipad Appeal.

Volunteers also will be collecting money for tsunami victims on Saturday morning at the Maclean Community Markets, which are held in the carpark behind the main street.

Meanwhile, in India: About 370,000 people remain in 532 relief camps spread over southern India and the far-flung Andaman and Nicobar islands. The number of people in camps has dropped from 500,000 last week, but the government lists a total of more than 630,000 as having been moved to safer places but require help.

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