Solving Problems Kim Lachance Shandrow  | February 17, 2019

Precious Cargo: How FedEx Helps Victims of Natural Disasters Begin Again

FedEx not only delivers more than 13 million packages across the globe every business day. It also airlifts millions of dollars’ worth of critical supplies to thousands of people in need in the wake of devastating natural disasters around the world.

“With networks that span billions of people across six continents, delivering is our business,” the company pledges on its social responsibility website. “It’s also our responsibility to deliver the resources that improve the lives of those we serve.”

In keeping with that commitment, the Memphis, Tenn.-based global shipping leader is investing $200 million in more than 200 global communities by 2020 “to create opportunities and deliver positive change around the world.” To start, FedEx is leveraging its massive global shipping network to deliver resources where they are needed most in times of disaster.

As part of its efforts to “deliver it forward” through its inspiring “Shipping For Good” program, FedEx was quick to take action in response to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015. Immediately after learning of the catastrophic quake, the corporation’s Global Citizenship arm began mobilizing its far-reaching disaster relief partner network, which includes several international relief organizations. Following the deadly temblor, more than 8,000 people died, thousands more were injured and two million were left homeless.

In recognition of the company’s outstanding Nepal earthquake effort, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center recently awarded FedEx its 2016 Corporate Citizenship Award for Best Disaster Response and Community Resilience Program. Every year for the last 17 years, the Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Awards celebrate businesses that go above and beyond to make the world a better place. These standout companies serve as powerful forces for good in communities throughout the country and across the world.

“The FedEx network and the people who power it are committed to helping relief organizations prepare and respond in times of disaster,” Neil Gibson, vice president of FedEx Services’ corporate communications arm said in a statement announcing the award. “It means so much to our team members to be a part of relief efforts and we are honored to be recognized alongside so many other companies working to build a more prosperous world.“

To help Nepal earthquake survivors begin again, FedEx dispatched two wide-body charter flights to the impacted area that were collectively loaded with approximately $15.3 million in relief supplies. Among the provisions transported from the U.S. to Kathmandu were more than 178,000 pounds of critically needed medicines, temporary shelters, food, water purification equipment, and maternity/infant and medical supplies. Joining FedEx in the sweeping relief effort were Heart to Heart International, Water Missions and Direct Relief.

“It was like a giant chess game happening in real time with all hands on deck,” a FedEx spokesperson wrote in the company’s Chamber Foundation Corporate Citizenship Awards application. “Lives were at stake if relief aid didn’t arrive. Thankfully, FedEx team members are all experts at what they do and eagerly rose to the challenge. Collectively, we developed a workable solution that was executed flawlessly.”

In all, the company provided $1 million in charitable support, including transportation support, cash donations and chartered flights.

“In the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, FedEx’s resources and transportation support were crucial to the relief efforts,” said Marc DeCourcey, Senior Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center. “Their dedication to disaster relief and response shows FedEx’s strong commitment to helping those in need.”

Founded in 1971 in Little Rock, Ark., FedEx has repeatedly lent a hand — and an extraordinary amount of disaster relief supplies — over the decades, dispersing help all across the globe, from the hurricane-soaked Dominican Republic to Ebola-ravaged West Africa and beyond.

Last October, FedEx contributed to post-Hurricane Matthew relief efforts in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, once again alongside the good folks of Direct Relief. Two FedEx pilots donated their time to fly a FedEx 757 from Memphis, Tenn., to Haiti to drop off approximately $2.5 million in much-needed supplies, including drinking water, food and medical provisions.

FedEx pilot Mike Elsenrath, long-trained to fly into hazardous weather, war zones and disaster areas, perfectly summed up the importance and far-reaching impact of his employer’s disaster relief efforts on the heels of a Port-au-Prince relief cargo drop: “This can be a once in a career type of chance — to take the unique skills we have and do something good,” he said. “It’s great to be able to make such a positive impact for so many people.”