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News Release

Media Contact:
Nicole Brown
(For donations inquiries contact donations@lionsclubs.org)

Lions Providing Immediate Relief in Japan
US$7 Million from Foundation Supporting Lions' Efforts

A month after the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami and fires, Lions volunteers are still hard at work continuing the relief efforts. With more 107,000 members in Japan, Lions live in the affected communities, so they best know the needs of the community and are able to respond quickly and efficiently. But they are also dedicated to providing relief for as long as it takes. They share a passion for rebuilding their communities.

Lions distribute food to elderly.Lions Clubs International Foundation is providing US$7 million to support Lions' relief efforts. This includes grants as well as donations from Lions around the world.

The Foundation has established a designated fund for donations for disaster. The Foundation has more than 40 years of experience in disaster relief, and all funds are administered by local Lions in the area.

"On behalf of all Lions of Japan, we wish to thank all of you for your support," said Lions Clubs International Director Yasumasa Furo. Lions are appreciative of the immediate response of the Foundation and Lions' worldwide.devastation in Hitachi

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, following the worst earthquake to hit Japan in over 100 years. The Foundation is providing 100 tents to provide shelter for Lions and other relief workers. Lions have established four relief command centers in the affected areas, as well as one in Tokyo at the Lions Office. They are also working with other organizations to help provide relief. Discussions are being held with Tasuki Project, an organization that delivers personalized bags of items to disaster victims, to help fund the delivery of these bags. Lions continue to meet with Japan Red Cross to formulate mid- to long-term joint relief solutions, including blood drives to address the severe shortage.

Lions in Kobe are helping lead these relief efforts, utilizing their expertise in earthquake relief and recovery from the 1994 disaster. They have created a map to coordinate how Lions have been affected, as well as how they’re helping.

Many Lions have also been personally affected, but they have put aside their own needs in order to help their community. On a personal level, Lions in Japan have acted courageously to provide relief and safety despite the significant risk. Thanks to his regular training of staff and emergency planning, Lion Ryutaro Yamazaki saved the lives of all 47 guests and 20 staff members of his seaside hotel from the tsunami. Sadly, he is among the 25 Lions members confirmed missing. 

"I recently visted Christchurch, New Zealand, and I thought I had seen it all, but this is unbelievable. Looking to the extraordinary dimension of this earthquake and tsunami, Lions and our Foundation are committed to providing immediate and long-term relief. Lions of Japan are often the first to respond to other disasters, and I ask all Lions of the world to show their solidarity and help the Japanese Lions during their time of need," said Eberhard J. Wirfs, Chairperson of Lions Clubs International Foundation.

Donations can be made immediately online or visit our Web site for other ways to donate. For questions regarding donations, please contact the Foundation at donations@lionsclubs.org or (630) 203-3836. Designated donations made from March 11-June 30 are eligible for Melvin Jones Fellowship recognition, per an exception by the Board of Trustees to the board policy. Lions and corporations around the world are donating generously, including a donation from Bausch + Lomb for US$100,000 and matching employee contributions up to US$150,000 to provide eye care services.

Please visit this page for regular updates, as well as the Lions' Blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.

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Lions Clubs International Foundation is the charitable arm of Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world with 1.35 million members in 207 geographic areas and countries. Annually, the Foundation awards millions in grant funding for natural disasters. LCIF has been named the #1 NGO according to a Financial Times study . Learn more about LCIF online at www.lcif.org.

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2013-14 Merit Award Winner Claire Maurus (Minnesota, USA)

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