Kerstin Jeska-Zimmermann, 2004-05 governor of District 1950 (Germany), was vacationing with her husband in Sri Lanka's Hikkaduwa resort town in December 2004 when the powerful tsunami hit.
"All of a sudden, there was absolute silence, as if nature was holding her breath," Jeska-Zimmermann recalls. "After a few minutes, we heard people frantically screaming, 'The water is coming!' "
Stepping outside, from the safety of their elevated perch, Jeska-Zimmermann and her husband saw locals and tourists running from the beach uphill to a Buddhist temple on …
By Arnold R. Grahl
Rotary International News
The 70-year-old woman, paralyzed from the waist down, looked frail and desperate as she appealed to the visiting doctors from India for help.
Her vision limited by cataracts for more than 20 years, the woman explained how she had been repeatedly passed over for care, and how she had become a burden to her family and others, recalls Rajendra K. Saboo, 1991-92 RI president and 1996-97 Rotary Foundation trustee chair, who helped organize the medical mission to the Republic of the Congo.
Rotarians and other members of the family of Rotary joined health workers in carrying out Pakistan's National Immunization Days (NIDs) 12-14 October, reaching a record 35 million children.
"It is the grassroots volunteer service that led United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to call Rotary the heart and soul of the polio eradication initiative," said International PolioPlus Committee Chair Robert S. Scott at a 10 October ceremony in Islamabad to inaugurate the NIDs.
Rotarians are ramping up aid to victims left homeless by a series of disasters that struck areas in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.
A devastating tsunami that hit American Samoa, Samoa, and Tonga; earthquakes in Indonesia; two typhoons in the Philippines; and flooding in India have left thousands dead and millions displaced.
Rotarians are focusing on distributing relief goods, including food, water, medicine, clothing, and shelter.
Rotary clubs from districts in Australia and New Zealand are leading efforts to bring emergency response kits to victims of the 29 September …
By Dan Nixon
Among the most difficult children to reach in the push to eradicate polio are those of migrant families crossing the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
"Children who cross the border miss out on the NIDs [National Immunization Days] on both sides," says Pakistan PolioPlus Committee Chair Aziz Memon.
Joint WHO/UNICEF/ROTARY INTERNATIONAL press release
74 million children to be immunized, as outbreak spreads to Guinea
Dakar/Harare, 28 May 2009 - More than 400,000 polio vaccinators in 11 West African countries will immunize more than 74 million children over the next week in response to a spreading polio epidemic which is threatening thousands of children with life-long paralysis.
Communiqué de presse conjoint OMS/UNICEF/Rotary International
74 millions d'enfants vont être vaccinés contre la polio, alors que l'épidémie se propage en Guinée
Dakar/Harare, 28 mai 2009 - Plus de 400.000 vaccinateurs dans 11 pays d'Afrique de l'ouest vont immuniser plus de 74 millions d'enfants au cours des prochaines semaines en réponse à la propagation de l'épidémie de poliomyélite qui menace de paralyser à vie des milliers d'enfants.
By Peter Schmidtke
Allan Akamura's friends used to push him to school in a homemade wheelchair.
Now the 13-year-old from Uganda, who has cerebral palsy, pedals himself around on a tricycle through the corridors at University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
By Dan Nixon
A recent wild poliovirus outbreak in southern Sudan has spread into parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda.
In response, Rotary is providing a total of US$500,000 in emergency grants to UNICEF and the World Health Organization for immediate immunization efforts in the Horn of Africa.
In January, The Rotary Foundation Trustees approved $2.2 million in PolioPlus grants to support immunization activities there.
The outbreak requires urgent action by governments and partner agencies to make the region polio-free, health officials say.
Partners UNICEF and WHO to conduct immediate immunization activities in high-risk areas
Evanston, Illinois (March 31, 2009) - In response to a recent outbreak of wild poliovirus that has spread from southern Sudan into parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, Rotary is providing US$500,000 in emergency grants to UNICEF and WHO for immediate polio immunization efforts in the Horn of Africa.
By Dan Nixon
Health officials from Pakistan and Afghanistan endorsed joint strategies for stopping cross-border transmission of the poliovirus during a 10-11 February meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan.
"We need to consider Pakistan and Afghanistan as one block when it comes to fighting polio," said Dr. Altaf Bosan, head of Pakistan's polio eradication program, during the meeting. "Our issues and challenges are the same, and thus their solutions are similar."
The meeting also included representatives from three of the spearheading partners of the Global Polio …
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded US$255 million to Rotary International in the global effort to eradicate polio, bringing the total committed by Rotary and the Gates Foundation to $555 million.
Shortly after meeting with incoming district governors from the four countries where the wild poliovirus is endemic -- Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan -- Bill Gates announced the new grant on Wednesday morning at the International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA.
"Rotarians, government leaders, and health professionals have made a phenomenal commitment …