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News Release

Media Contact:
lcif@lionsclubs.org

For Immediate Release

LCIF, Lions Around the World Mobilize More Than
US$3 Million for China Earthquake Relief

As the only international volunteer service club organization in China, Lions clubs are responding to immediate and long-term needs

View New Video on Lions' China Earthquake Relief Efforts

Oak Brook, Illinois, USA, July 23, 2008?Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Lions clubs members around the world are mobilizing more than US$3 million in direct funding and relief supplies to aid Lions-led relief efforts in China.

Lions and LCIF are already responding to the powerful, massive earthquake that struck Sichuan Province in central China on Monday, May 12. Within 48 hours LCIF committed a major catastrophe grant of US$500,000 to address immediate needs and provide medicines, clothing, blankets and temporary housing. LCIF approved a second major catastrophe grant in the amount of US$500,000 in June. Additionally, LCIF awarded a US$200,000 grant to MD101, Sweden, in June 2008 for a joint LCIF-Swedish Lions project to provide additional tents to relief works and victims left homeless.

Lions in District 381 Guangdong in mainland China have raised more than US$450,000 and relief materials including food and medicine, Lions in District 380 Shenzhen in mainland China have raised US$250,000 & relief material of US$200,000 and Lions in District 303 Hong Kong and Macau have raised US$350,000. As of July, Lions around the world had sent more than US$260,000 in designated funds to LCIF for this disaster.

A team of 40 Lions from Districts 381 and 380 traveled to Sichuan province to assist with hands-on relief efforts and the immediate and emerging needs of victims. The Lions are still in the area, disbursing relief materials including tents, medicine and food. Working with the Chinese Red Cross, Lions purchased 10 relief vehicles and ambulances.

?As the only international volunteer service club organization in China, Lions Clubs International Foundation is working hand-in-hand with Lions in the area to assess and address immediate needs. Through our grassroots network of Lions in the affected communities, we are able to get relief supplies to those in the most need very quickly,? said Lions Clubs International President Albert Brandel.

An organizing committee comprised of Lions from Districts 380, 381 and 303 and the China Council of Lions Clubs has been formed in order to plan and coordinate efficiently on the relief project.  An immediate and long-term relief plan is being developed by local Lions to involve four stages: rescue, support, resettlement and reconstruction. Lions are planning to establish Lions 'tent' cities using 800 family size tents. Swedish Lions helped supply the tents and are also contributing 3,000 blankets. Lions from Sweden are in China to assist in the distribution of the tents.

To support immediate and long-term needs, Lions around the world are responding. A designated LCIF account has been established to help channel donations for this disaster. Donations can be made online. Lions of Ethiopia have donated $10,000; Iceland Lions have contributed $5,000; Chinese clubs in Vancouver, Canada expect to collect $100,000; and Taiwan Lions have committed $50,000. Lions in Brazil have partnered with a local company to provide 7,000 blankets. Many Lions are also helping by sharing this news with fellow Lions and the media. 

Frequent and massive aftershocks have caused further damages and casualties from the tremor. There remain significant and varying needs. As in past large-scale disasters, Lions are on the ground now and are also steadfastly committed to long-term relief and reconstruction. Days, week and months from now Lions will continue to provide aid. There is a great need for tents as many houses were toppled in the quake and the rainy season has begun. Generators and water purifying machines are also in urgent need and will be well-utilized. Lions are using immediate funds to purchase these items and are also requesting assistance to obtain these items. Chinese Lions and victims of the earthquake know they can count on Lions to help as long as it takes to rebuild structures and rebuild lives.

As his first visit as international president, Albert Brandel and LCIF staff visited the affected areas with Chinese Lions in July. LCIF Chairperson Mahendra Amarasuriya will visit the affected areas with Chinese Lions in August.

LCIF is in constant contact with local Lions to determine the best immediate and long-term response. These regular updates are being posted on the LCIF Web site in order to keep Lions and the general public up-to-date on the latest news and response.

Lions and LCIF's efforts have not gone unnoticed. News of the relief being provided has appeared on AOL, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Daily Herald and several other national newspapers around the world, including many major daily papers and television stations in China.

Lions have a long history of working with the Chinese government to provide humanitarian service. Since 2002, Lions Clubs International has been the first and only international volunteer service club organization to be officially recognized by the Chinese government. China?s government issued an executive order that was countersigned by the Chinese premier to officially establish two pilot Lions clubs in Shenzhen and Guangdong. Today, there are 1,655 Lions clubs members in 79 clubs in China in addition to 1,429 Lions in 62 clubs in Hong Kong and Macau.

Lions service in China began in 1997 with the SightFirst program. SightFirst is LCIF?s blindness prevention program aimed at addressing and reversing preventable blindness. Through SightFirst China Action, LCIF has invested more than US$30 million to build up eye care services and eradicate preventable blindness, which was matched with US$200 million from the Chinese government. Those funds supported 4.6 million cataract surgeries in China and Tibet, established 104 surgical eye units in rural areas and trained eye health care workers where there previously were none. LCIF is providing sustainable eye care services for rural poor populations. 

To support Lions? relief efforts, contributions can be made to the Lions China Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund. Donations continue to support immediate needs and will assist in long-term rebuilding efforts. Donations from U.S. residents are tax deductible.

U.S. donors can:

Donors outside the United States can:

LCIF and Lions in China thank you for your continuous support for the victims in the affected areas. LCIF and Lions are proving the international humanitarian good that be can accomplished together.

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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 nearly 1.35 million members in 206 geographic areas and countries. LCIF was ranked by a Financial Times? study as the number one non-governmental organization with which to partner. Established in 1968, LCIF has been involved with blindness prevention and treatment for more than 15 years through the SightFirst program. Learn more about LCIF and Campaign SightFirst II efforts by visiting www.lcif.org.

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