For the last four days, The UPS Foundation’s Joe Ruiz has been on the phone. His job is to figure out how UPS can best leverage its transportation network, humanitarian logistics teams and funds to help the victims of Friday’s tsunami and earthquake in Japan.
Joe has been working with UPSers in Japan to assess whether the roads are good enough to reach the most damaged areas of the country. He’s been talking to colleagues at UPS Airlines to determine whether flights can reliably go in and out of Narita Airport outside Tokyo. Joe also has been coordinating with UPS’s relief partners around the world to determine if they need UPS resources, such as airlift, staff and facilities.
Today, The UPS Foundation pledged $1 million dollars in in-kind and financial support to the relief efforts in Japan.
On stand-by are UPS managers who are logisticians trained in disaster response. Transportation experts also are readying for customer requests seeking to ship goods into Japan.
Meanwhile, scenes of the devastation flashed across the TV screen. “You can never forget that the work we do saves lives,” reflected Joe, who is The UPS Foundation’s Humanitarian Relief Program Manager.
Joe has been on the front end of dozens of natural disasters in recent years: The China earthquake; floods in Haiti, Pakistan, the Philippines and Honduras; Hurricane Katrina; a cyclone in Myanmar, the tsunami in American Samoa, and most recently, the Haiti earthquake.
The Japan situation is different than Haiti because many of UPS’s relief partners such as CARE and the U.N. World Food Programme do not have operations on the ground. Countries like Japan typically have to ask for help, whereas Haiti already had those relief agencies on the ground and operating and could immediately activate their facilities. Two of UPS’s partners do however have operations in Japan: the Red Cross and The Salvation Army, Ruiz added. He’s in touch with them right now to determine how to meet their needs.
What Japan does share with other natural disaster sites is the challenge of logistics. Damaged roads, rail and airports adjacent to the most hard-hit areas hamper rescuers ability to deliver supplies rapidly and efficiently.
“Our hearts go out to all of the victims of this devastating earthquake and tsunami,” said Joe.
You can be sure he’s on the phone searching for ways to help.
Are you looking to help? The best way is to contribute cash directly to relief agencies. Visit the Red Cross, The Salvation Army or Aid Matrix , which is an online system that matches product donations with relief agency needs.
If you are a UPS customer and have questions about your Japan shipment, please contact 1-800-782-7892.
|Category:||Caring for Communities, Global Impact, Logistics|
|Tags:||Asia, community, global disaster relief, international, Japan, logistics, UPS Foundation|