The tsunami that ravaged Southeast Asia on December 26 left a path of destruction that is hard to fathom. In Indonesia alone, more than 400 bridges were damaged, nearly 130,000 homes and apartments were wiped out and 2,000 schools were destroyed or damaged, with an estimated cost exceeding $2.9 billion.
Rebuilding in Indonesia and other countries in the region will require years of effort and assistance. Luckily, support is coming from a variety of international government and private sources. This includes members of the construction community.
The construction industry has long been known for its generosity in the face of tragedy. A perfect example is the tremendous support contractors and construction equipment suppliers showed immediately after and in the months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A similar response has come in the days and weeks since the tsunami hit. Following are just a few examples:
The first excavator from Volvo Construction Equipment was sent to the Khao Luk, Thailand area within hours after the village was destroyed. Another 17 excavators and more than 80 employees at a local construction company joined the relief operations there over the next few days.
In addition, Volvo Group pledged to make trucks, excavators, generator sets and buses available for rescue and relief operations throughout Southeast Asia. It also pledged 1 million SEK to the Red Cross, and announced plans to match contributions from its employees in Sweden.
JCB Inc. responded by pledging an initial $1 million worth of machines to the disaster relief efforts. Five backhoe-loaders were airlifted to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Other machines were donated to Tamil Nadu, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Caterpillar dealers in the Asia Pacific region quickly made equipment, personnel and other resources available in the aftermath of the disaster. The Caterpillar Foundation also committed $1 million to ongoing relief and recovery efforts. In addition, donations by employees, retirees, directors and employees of dealers were matched up to $2,000 per person.
Komatsu Ltd. pledged roughly $2 million worth of aid, including an initial cash donation of about $200,000 to the Japanese Red Cross. In conjunction with its local subsidiaries and dealers in Southeast Asia, the company also dispatched equipment and operators to assist in recovery efforts. Komatsu America Corp. further announced a cash donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund. It also provided matching funds for employee contributions.
Dana Corp., The Fluor Foundation and United Rentals pledged to contribute up to $100,000 each to the American Red Cross International Response Fund. United Rentals also encouraged customer contributions by accepting funds at its more than 730 locations in North America.
While the list of donors goes on and on, so does the need for additional funds and equipment. If you would like to help, visit
www.redcross.org or contact your local Red Cross office. For information on other charitable organizations, visit