District Governor Robert Leger
MESSAGE AFTER HURRICANE IRMA September 14th 2017

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

It has already been a week since Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean and for the first time a natural disaster has affected in different ways 7 out of the 10 territories of Rotary District 7020.

It is a very hard and sad situation and a real challenge for us all but those affected can count on the Districts’ s support to help as much as we can.

Knowing the challenge this involves, as District Governor, I immediately invited several Past District Governors ( RIPE BARRY, PDG Jeremy, PDG Paul, PDG Felix, PDG Errol and PDG Haresh as well as DGN Patrick) to put in place a Hurricane Irma Disaster Recovery Committee who immediately began working with a plan for relief efforts in different islands.

This special committee has been expanded with DRRE Leah Lowe who will be in touch with the Rotaractors and AG Amarylis Chair of the District Communication Team who will work closely with PDG Diana in collecting all official published information and photographs and PDG Haresh in charge of HIDRC communication. We also had a meeting with the Disaster Network of Assistance Rotary Action Group (DNA-RAG) leaders to join our efforts and we thank them in helping us set up the Irma disaster account.

District Disaster Chair Jacqueline together with PDG Rupert and PDG Richard from ST Croix (not seriously affected) have already received $20,000 from the District 7020 disaster fund to send help based on the needs requested by the Rotarian contacts in the neighboring islands. As you have read in my previous messages, this post IRMA support committee is in place and active!

PDG Jeremy was assigned to be the Chair of this committee and PDG Paul Brown the Co-Chair. A disaster fund account has already been set up and the information posted on our District Facebook page and sent to everyone. We are very touched by the response of so many already participating and I thank all those who have sent their contributions. I encourage all to put such information as well on your club Facebook page to reach more people wanting to help.

As you all know at first communication was not easy but from experience we know people on the ground are the ones who know better the needs in each area so the Committee began communicating with those that could be reached. At the present time there is a contact in each island and areas affected working with the committee so the help needed can be sent more effectively.

Unfortunately due to Irma, my club visits have been affected but hope to continue as soon as possible.

Although Rosa and I wished to visit the affected areas immediately, from past experiences we know that after a disaster like this regular flights being cancelled or affected, housing or logistics issue on the ground it is not the right time. Instead together with the AGs and Rotarian contacts from the areas, it is preferred at this moment that we continue to plan and organize how the help will reach the people in need and I will plan with the AGs when a visit can be done.

Dear Rotarians going through these very difficult moments, do not get discouraged,

you are not alone, we will come out of this together. 

My admiration goes to all those who are on the ground helping your neighbors and working together to help each other. It is at times like these that our leadership is very important and many of our leaders on the ground are doing an exceptional job reaching to other Rotarians unable to communicate, giving us news of their status, leading and organizing feeding efforts, distributing water, looking for generators to give electricity and use saws to cut trees blocking the roads and in some cases helping repair roofs. I thank you all for your leadership. It is people like you that make Rotary Great!

District 7020 is helping and will continue to do so. We are also preparing to help through club projects to rebuild that can be done using funds raised for this purpose as well as with Global Grant applications for the different needs. Yes we will continue to Grow Stronger so we can get out of this crisis and be able to Serve Better the islands in District 7020 to continue making a difference.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! 

Rotarians in the islands such as Bahamas, Cayman, Haiti Jamaica andcSt. Croix and from other parts of the world are working together in this relief effort. 

OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS CONTINUE TO BE WITH YOU ALL.

Robert Leger
District Governor
District 7020