Business Core Competencies Helped Save Lives after Earthquake Devastation
In the early-morning hours of February 6, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck south central Türkiye (Turkey) near the Türkiye-Syria border. Just 11 minutes later, a magnitude 6.7 aftershock followed. Ultimately, more than 100 aftershocks occurred, leading to an astounding loss of life and property in the region.
As worldwide news networks began their reports about the crisis and first responders initiated the difficult work of search and recovery, corporations across different sectors quickly joined the response efforts. The most effective corporate response initiatives leveraged companies' unique capabilities and pre-disaster partnerships with other businesses, nonprofits, and the people of Türkiye.
Adapting and coordinating supply chains to support disaster response is complex and critical to helping meet needs.
A clear leader in the corporate disaster response arena is UPS and The UPS Foundation. With experience in rapidly responding in times of crisis, UPS’ humanitarian efforts were underway within four hours of the first earthquake. As an expert in logistics and material movement, the impact UPS was able to make in those early days was significant.
In the initial response, UPS workers donated 3,000+ hours to pack cars, trucks, and air containers with supplies to be sent to affected areas. Over the course of the disaster, UPS deployed almost 1.7 million tons of equipment and supplies. This was accomplished through partnerships with the Turkish Embassy and Turkish Government to ensure UPS efforts reflected local needs.
UPS joins three other global companies – Agility, DP World, and Maersk – to form The Logistics Emergency Team led by the United Nations World Food Programme. These companies come together pro bono in large-scale disasters to mobilize capabilities – technological, customs, warehousing, planes, trucks, and more – to be able to reach disaster areas as quickly as possible.
At the US-Türkiye Business Forum at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on March 13, Laura Lane, Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer at UPS, explained the organization’s commitment, speed of delivery, and resource allocation for rapid-response humanitarian efforts.
“We mobilized not just our resources, but our people, our time, and our talent to provide hope and opportunity for recovery after the earthquake hit,” said Lane.
The tech industry is using digital communication to bolster humanitarian response and responsibly inform communities.
Communication is another mission-critical competency in times of crisis. Two technology leaders, Meta Platforms (the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) and Google, acted swiftly to leverage financial contributions and their product capabilities to aid in response.
- WhatsApp utilized their unique communications abilities to partner with a local rescue organization, AKUT, to distribute information and resources for donations, volunteering, and rescue operations.
- Google provided financial donations of more than $5 million to NGOs, including contributions from Google employees. The tech company also distributed accurate and up-to-date information through nonprofit advertising space and data implementations on Google Maps to ensure proper navigation of rebuilding efforts.
- Both Meta and Google supported The Turkish Red Crescent, an NGO like the Red Cross, to help support distribution of food, water, medical care and coordination of blood donation efforts in this time of need.
The health care industry is leveraging pivotal resources to facilitate direct impact across medical systems in the region.
As search and rescue occurred, there was a pronounced necessity for health care resources across the region. First responders saw significant need to treat people with injuries and pre-existing medical conditions. In-demand supplies to assist those displaced included field medic packs containing first aid, antibiotics and other essential medicines, oral rehydration solutions, and hygiene items. Medical companies helped make an impact on this need.
- Abbott and the Abbott Fund committed $1.5 million in grants and products to support the region’s recovery and rebuilding efforts in partnership with CARE, Direct Relief and International Medical Corps.
- Medtronic launched $1.1 million in products, nonprofit grants, and employee matched giving in support of Türkiye and Syria, with roughly $318,000 comprised of donated equipment.
These are just a sample of the impacts made to help earthquake survivors. Hundreds of businesses engaged in the initial response and remain committed to the ongoing recovery. The business community has a long history of humanitarian response in times of disaster. To learn about the $111.98 million in corporate aid mobilized so far for Türkiye and Syria, please visit our Aid Tracker.
To learn more about the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s work to advance business-led solutions to create stronger, more resilient communities locally and globally, visit our website.
Claire Irish contributed to this article.