The HKTA joined a long list of munificent donors in Hong Kong to aid victims of the Boxing Day earthquake and its resulting tsunamis that had caused widespread destruction in many parts of South Asia when Mr. Joelle Ho (Hon. Secretary, left) and Mrs. Janet Hardisty (General Manager, right) presented a cheque worth half of the proceeds from the recent Chinese Tennis Champions Hong Kong Tour to Hong Kong Red Cross' Mr. Leung Sai Kit at the HKRC Headquarters in Wanchai earlier yesterday.
To date, the death toll relating to the disaster on 26 December 2004 had exceeded 200,000 in the region and is mounting still on a daily basis. Emergency relief by way of medicine, shelter, food and water, plus materials required for rebuilding, etc, continues to be in huge demand. Moreover, one of the biggest health challenges facing the victims is the spread of waterborne diseases, particularly malaria and diarrhea, as well as respiratory tract infections.
As of 4 February 2005, the accumulated donation to the Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) South Asia Relief Fund had reached a record-high of HK$500 million from the local population.
The HKRC has made a donation allocation plan according to the assessments made by the International Red Cross and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies in affected countries, and the reports by HKRC relief workers after visiting disaster-hit areas. This plan encompasses aid efforts from emergency relief to long-term reconstruction and disaster preparedness projects of 5 or more years.
According to RedCross.org.hk, the HKRC had allocated HK$157 million to Indonesia and HK$120 million to Sri Lanka - the two hardest-hit countries; and HK$107 million to India . These three countries share 76% of the total donation and the remaining has been earmarked for Thailand, Maldives, Myanmar and other affected countries.
Although the initial phase of disaster relief, such as providing daily necessities for victims' survival is coming to an end, much more work is still ahead. In the short-term, restoring the victims' basic livelihood and their communities' basic facilities, is paramount. For the longer-run, reconstruction of vital infrastructure such as roads, houses, schools, hospitals, etc., as well as disaster prevention and preparedness initiatives, will require much, much more resources. The HKRC announced that apart from the 27% of donation already spent on the initial relief phase, 65% of the donation (about HK$327 million) will go towards the short and longer-term recovery projects in affected countries.
Local tennis coaches stretch out to tsunami victims through Tennis For Life
Earlier last month, a group of tennis enthusiasts, coaches and sporting goods merchants in Hong Kong showed their support as they made a concerted effort towards the South Asia disaster relief cause by organizing a one-day charity event aptly named "Tennis For Life" in their bid to lend a helping hand especially during times of grief and catastrophe.
On Sunday, 23 January, equipped with tennis courts provided for by the Chinese Recreation Club and the South China Athletic Association, a number of tennis coaches and former tennis professionals were on hand to conduct tennis lessons in return for donations to a good cause. The entire sum of HK$50,000-plus raised from this endeavour was wholly donated to the Hong Kong Red Cross South Asia Relief Fund.
Those who volunteered to coach for the event included organizer and current Hong Kong Davis Cup Captain, Derek Ling; long-time HK resident and former Filipino Davis Cupper, Andres Battad; Ronald Vilan; Glenn Monzaces; Jess Lapore; Mark Hopkins; Michael Radeck; Eric Chung, Ken Li; Clement Li; Rico Lui; Louis Lai; Daniel Lee; Shum Kwok Hing; Paul Hung; Ian Lau; Winnie Ip; Larry Poon; Bronson Fung; Cyril Lau; Robin Fok; Marcos Manqueros; Mal Swan; Whi Kim, and former Hong Kong Davis Cuppers, Murray Bennetto; Pang Lui; Stephen So; Venant Shum; and John Hui.
CRC resident coach, Venant Shum, came up with the most donations from his group of donors, which totalled in excess of HK$10,000.
For details on how to donate to the South Asia Relief Fund via the Hong Kong Red Cross, click here.