SEVEN Rotarians from the Sydney suburb of Carlingford in Australia took part recently in the blessing and launching of 92 fishing boats in Carles, Iloilo on the island of Panay in the Philippines.
The official launch was the culmination of a two-year project initiated by the Rotary Club of Timog, Quezon City, in partnership with its sister clubs in Carlingford and Iloilo, and the University of San Agustin, Iloilo City. The purpose was to help the fishing community recover after the tragic devastation caused by typhoon Haiyan on November 8, 2013.
Rotarians from Carlingford were Julius Adan, Floro Valdez, Edward Strom (club president), Nola Strom, Jonathan Long, Christine Long, Dexter Tabeta, Ruth Tabeta, John Green, Antoinette Green, Anne Abraham, and Ross Abraham.
The boat project was funded by the Rotary clubs of Timog and Carlingford, and a global grant from Rotary International to the tune of AU$55,000 (PH2 million).
Boat beneficiaries were screened and selected by the University of San Agustin, who will also act as administrators of the fishing cooperative that will be formed by the beneficiaries of the fishing boats.
Expressions of joy and gratitude could be seen in the faces of fishermen and their families as the boats were blessed and formally handed over to them.
The Rotary Club of Carlingford maintains close ties with the Rotary Club of Timog. Other joint projects include free medical and dental missions to indigent communities, deep wells, and educational and cultural exchanges.
Haiyan was recorded as the strongest typhoon to ever have hit landfall, with wind gusts of up to 235m/hr and a storm surge reaching 13 feet.
Reported death toll exceeded 6,000 with more than 16 million people affected in the Philippines alone. More than 90% of the devastated area’s families lost their homes and livelihood in Carles.