Haiti Help: Corporations Join Aid Agencies to Bring Relief

Citigroup, Caterpillar and Royal Caribbean prepare for relief efforts.

ByABC News
January 13, 2010, 4:02 PM

Jan. 13, 2009 — -- As the U.S. government and aid groups rush help to Haiti, some corporations have also announced plans to bring relief to the earthquake-ravaged island nation.

Citigroup, which has eight branches and 45 employees in Haiti, said that it sent a team and medical equipment, humanitarian supplies and satellite phones to Port-au-Prince.

"Their immediate task is to assist our colleagues in any way they can," Citi CEO Vikram Pandit said in a company memo. "As we have in the past, we will do whatever we can to support emergency response efforts in Haiti."

The bank, which said one employee suffered a broken leg during the quake, has been in touch with the Red Cross and other organizations about partnering with them on relief efforts, Pandit said.

Construction equipment giant Caterpillar said its dealers in Haiti are part of rescue and recovery efforts in the country and is also in touch with relief agencies.

"We know from past experience with natural disasters in other parts of the world that our dealers and customers using Caterpillar equipment are typically among the first responders," the company said in a written statement. "...We are currently assessing the situation to determine where we can be of greatest assistance."

Cruise operator Royal Caribbean, which has a port in northern Haiti at Labadee, said that it is developing its humanitarian relief plan and is waiting for confirmation from the Haitian government when it can return to Labadee.

"Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises are eager to take guests, as well as humanitarian assistance, to Haiti as soon as possible," the company said.

Corporations have also announced donations of both cash and supplies. Walmart said that, at the Red Cross's request, it is sending pre-packaged food kits valued at $100,000 while Coca Cola is shipping 4,000 case of bottled water and other beverages from a bottler in the Dominican Republican to Haiti.

Manufacturing company 3M said it is working on donating health care products while Procter & Gamble said that it is working with relief agencies on the ground in Haiti to plan shipments and deliveries of its water purifying products.

UPS said it is pledging $1 million in cash and in-kind support, half in cash, half in-kind services for shipping supplies. The funds will be divided between the American Red Cross, CARE, UNICEF and other organizations.

Lowe's will donate $1 million to the American Red Cross and will accept donations for the Red Cross from customers at all 1,700 of their home improvement stores.