Disaster Aid Australia began life in 2003 in association with another overseas aid organisation, but went "under its own steam" in 2010. A project of the Rotary Club of Endeavour Hills (D9820 Vic.) it is a member of Disaster Aid International which includes Rotary club partners in Malaysia, UK & Ireland, and the USA.
Disaster Aid Australia ('DAA') is a company limited by guarantee (ABN 55 129 338 825) and a charitable institution with the usual Australian tax concessions. It also has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status (Item 1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997) and is an AusAID preferred supplier. We are also registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC.)
DAA has an office in Dandenong in SE Melbourne that was kindly donated by a Rotarian, and is staffed by volunteers when necessary and convenient.
The Board of Directors meets quarterly (or more frequently as necessary), with an Executive Committee meeting on a monthly basis. As is required under the company's Constitution, no director receives fees or other financial benefits.
What we do … and who we work with
We deliver innovative Australian-based humanitarian aid packages to people in developing countries who have suffered loss following natural or other disasters. Specifically, we provide families in desperate need with shelter, materials, water and light – and a new start within their communities, with hope and dignity.
We have changed our methods of delivery and methods over the years. For instance, our volunteer, mostly Rotarian DARTs (Disaster Aid Response Team members), work in affected areas with local people (including Rotary clubs, government agencies and NGOs) establishing what they most need.
We effectively operate as project managers in disaster relief and rebuilding. And that often creates employment opportunities too.
Importantly, DAA does not go in and "tell" people what they need, drop aid packages and then depart. In the Philippines for example, we quickly learned it was not tents they needed, but what we now call 'home repair kits' that the local people told us were vital … and, highly practical.
Needs vary in differing countries following differing disaster events.
And of course water is increasingly an important element. Up to 10,000 litres a day of clean water can be produced with the Australian-designed SkyHydrant™ system.
Solar lighting (from Solar-Gem, another Australian innovative product) is also most useful in disaster areas: of itself, but also for safety through the nights.
Where have we worked helping those in need?
We have worked in Sudan, Haiti, Pakistan, Malaysia, the Philippines in 2011, and were back in that country in 2013 and 2014, following the earthquake and massive Typhoon, two devastating events that happened close together in 2013. We stand ready to assist when and where needed.
More about the aid we deliver
Our basic product is the Family Survival Pack; it provides a family with the 'tools' necessary to rebuild their lives.
For ease of transport and manoeuvrability, the container has wheels and a handle. Its capacity is 190 litres, with the lid serving as a carpenter’s workbench. Inside the box is a range of support items, usually including the Disaster Aid tent. It is the largest humanitarian aid tent available and meets (or exceeds) Sphere and UN standards.
The contents vary, depending on the location, but along with the tent (where applicable), typical items can include blankets, water containers, cooking utensils, a stove, pots, pans, children's rucksacks (with books and pencils), mosquito nets and other useful items.
In some instances however, tarpaulins are preferred over tents: that is why our early needs assessments, working with locals on the ground, are vital.
And as we mentioned earlier, we also provide sustainable water and lighting solutions.
What does our aid cost?
It varies, of course, but as a guide, a (tax deductible) donation of $A800 will provide a basic Family Survival Pack. And that will deliver help to a family in desperate need and often, change their lives after unimaginable loss and suffering.
For an average cost of $AU5000, a single SkyHydrant™ water filtration system can bring safe water to 350 families for 10 years, with no ongoing costs or power supply.
Sawyer Filters, which provide emergency drinking water $75 AUD, Home Repair Kits $275 AUD.
Association with other Rotary clubs
We presently have a number of Rotary clubs in Australia who have partnered with us to support and promote our activities, and we welcome enquiries from Rotary clubs who would like to work with us at various levels.
And the future?
We – and that includes our volunteer DARTs – are in this 'for the long haul' and consider the local people in disaster-affected communities to be our greatest resource.
As our friends at the Filipino Balay Mindanaw Foundation say, "we refuse to be victims: we choose to be resources."
And our mutual aim is that no child in that country will be without ready access to safe drinking water.
You can help us bring hope rebuilding communities … together.