Last month, multiple natural disasters struck around the world including flooding across the Midwest, a explosion in West, Texas and an earthquake in Ya'an, Sichuan, China. The Caterpillar Foundation provided relief with a donation to the Red Cross's Annual Disaster Giving Program, and matching employee, retiree and dealer employee donations and Give2Asia.
More than 4,000 Caterpillar and dealer employees donated more than $70,000 to provide relief to the Ya'an earthquake victims. The Caterpillar Foundation also made a grant of $100,000 to the Give2Asia Sichuan Earthquake Relief Fund. On top of the donations, Caterpillar and its dealer in southwest China, ECI-Metra, have mobilized construction equipment, generator sets and tools for relief efforts.
In the U.S., flooding ravaged the Midwest last month, causing extensive damage to homes, roads and businesses. In addition to the Red Cross's work to set up shelters, and distribute food and supplies, First Response Team of America, supported by the Caterpillar Foundation, has been helping to clear roadways and clean up debris for those affected by the rising river. The not-for-profit organization responds to disasters across the nation.
Tad Agoglia, First Response Team founder, was in the Peoria-area earlier this month helping flood victims begin the process of cleaning up the damage. Agoglia said in an interview, "I think sometimes it's a misconception that the government can come in and fix everything after some of these large-scale disasters. I was so happy to be able to pull up with our Cat® equipment and say, 'Hey, we're here. We're going to clean up your yard free of charge. Don't worry about anything.'"
Although First Response specializes in immediate disaster relief, the number of people affected by the river flooding made Peoria County a viable candidate for help. Agoglia said, "…Even though it's sad to see what happened here and there's a lot of people suffering, we are so thankful to be able to come back and help."
First Response cleared debris from the roadways, provided emergency lighting, pumped out water, cleaned home sites and cleaned debris on the side of the road to be taken to dumps.
Living Lands & Waters, a nonprofit environmental organization supported by the Caterpillar Foundation helped as well. They work to clean up rivers and aid in environmental protection and expansion. The crew helped families clean, sanitize and start fresh after the Illinois River's waters flooded their homes.
Caterpillar employees can participate in matching funds for the American Red Cross to support the West, Texas, explosion and the Midwest flooding until May 22 here. Employees can participate in matching funds for the Sichaun Earthquake Relief Fund until May 25 here.
Caterpillar Inc. supports the philanthropic efforts of the Caterpillar Foundation. Founded in 1952, the Caterpillar Foundation has contributed more than $550 million to help make sustainable progress possible around the world by providing program support in the areas of environmental sustainability, access to education and basic human needs. To learn more about the global impact of the Caterpillar Foundation, please visit www.caterpillar.com/foundation.
John Bostrom, Living Lands & Waters crew member, removes debris damaged from flood waters with a Cat<sup>®</sup> Skid Steer Loader.