In addition to the relief-aid foreign governments have offered to the United States in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, many foreign-based companies have also supplied financial assistance and services to aid the hurricane’s victims along the Gulf Coast.
Airbus S.A.S., a French company headquartered in Atlanta’s sister-city, Toulouse, sent an 184 foot-long, whale-shaped Airbus A300-600ST or “Beluga” to Mobile, Ala., Sept. 9., loaded with 22 tons of relief supplies. The cargo, which included cooking kits, food rations, tents and soap, were donations from the French and British governments arriving on the Gulf Coast by way of Airbus’ donated transportation.
The company is a division of European Aeronautics Defence and Space Company (EADS), a jointly operated, French and German military supplier and aerospace company that in June announced its plans to build an aircraft manufacturing plant in Mobile. The Sept. 9 flight was only one of three efforts the multi-million dollar company made to assist relief efforts since the Aug. 29 storm.
EADS also donated a mobile “TransHospital” to the U.S., which it transported first to Atlanta via the cargo arm of the German-based airline Deutsche Lufthansa A.G., then to Jackson, Miss. by way of the same Airbus Beluga that arrived in Mobile.
The mobile hospital, which is the same used by the German army, is now functioning as an emergency room unit in Waveland, Miss., and is equipped to handle up to 14 patients at one time. The hospital, which has its own power supply, water purification system and sewage disposal system, is being considered by U.S. government and non-government agencies for production in the U.S.
Finally, the company’s helicopter manufacturing subsidiary, American Eurocopter LLC, with facilities in Grand Prairie, Texas, and Columbus, Miss., contributed to search and rescue efforts, offering two of its helicopters and pilots during recovery missions in Mississippi and southern Louisiana.
“For 10 days they were flying helicopters at our own expense to evacuate these people,” said Guy Hicks, spokesperson for EADS North America Inc., which is based in Arlington, Va., noting that the crew rescued 66 people from Tulane Univeristy. “We were there in the beginning to evacuate people when other resources were stretched really thin,” Mr. Hicks said.
While EADS made substantial contributions to the relief efforts, other European companies also stepped forward with assistance. Zodiac of North America Inc., a French airboat manufacturer with North American headquarters in Maryland, donated 20 inflatable boats and instructional manpower used to recover individuals stranded in a flooded New Orleans.
Dassault Falcon Jet Corp., a French logistics company with offices in Arkansas, received and helped distribute 6.1 tons of aid that the French government flew in from its military base on the Caribbean island of Martinique.
Degussa A.G. a Dusseldorf, Germany-based chemical production company that has a plant in Theodore, Ala., a city just north of Mobile, collected $100,000 to help its employees who were left homeless after Hurricane Katrina, according to the German Consulate in Atlanta.
German company, Deutsche Telekom AG, donated $2 million to the reconstruction of Gulf Coast schools, and its’ American subsidiary, T-Mobile USA Inc. provided cellular phones and service to rescue teams during the relief efforts.
And Japanese companies and individuals also made considerable financial donations to the American Red Cross and the U.S. embassy in Tokyo, which reportedly received more donations than any embassy in the world.
American Honda Motor Co. Inc. pledged $5 million to the American Red Cross-Disaster Relief Fund on Sept. 2. The company also offered portable generators, water pumps, all terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, off-road motorcycles and vehicles to agencies working in the affected areas.
The Toyota Motor Corp. matched Honda’s $5 million donation to the Red Cross and also offered lease and finance customers affected by the hurricane a 90-day extension on payments. The company, in addition, stopped reporting to credit bureaus on accounts that were impacted by the storm
Other Japanese-based contributors included Canon U.S.A., Inc., Hitachi Ltd. and the Hitachi Foundation, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd, maker of the Panasonic brand, Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc., Nissan North America Inc. and the Toshiba Group.
To report additional contributions of international businesses to the relief efforts of Hurricane Katrina, contact GlobalAtlanta at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 377-7710.