Asia

Siemens Healthcare Social Engagement

A Great Initiative is Taking Place in Berlin: a Unique and Historic Collaboration to Help Nepal

June 13th, 2016
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On April 25 and again on May 12 a series of eearthquakes hit Nepal, affecting around eight million people and destroying over half a million homes. The donation appeal which Siemens’ made to its employees revealed a great willingness to help from all around the world.

The appeal for donations issued by Siemens AG, following the earthquake in Nepal, has met with an overwhelming response: In Germany alone, employees donated over 700,000 euro to the German Red Cross (GRC), which Siemens AG matched euro for euro. The sum included 50,000 euro from a staff fund donated by employees in Bocholt.

In a further 21 countries, Siemens employees were so shocked by the disaster that they immediately set up fundraising campaigns. Traditional calls for donations like in the US, China and India were complemented by creative approaches: Employees in Belgium organized a “Nepal week” in the canteen, offering typical Nepalese dishes. Part of the proceeds were donated to the Red Cross. In Saudi Arabia, employees not only raised money but also collected aid supplies which were distributed by a colleague in Nepal. Siemens France participated in a NoFinishLine sponsored run. Almost 700 employees, more than ten percent of the workforce, ran a total of 7,500 kilometers, raising 7,500 euro that was matched by Siemens France. Outside Germany, more than 450,000 euro was raised overall.

Some of the money was used to get tarpaulin, flat-pack bottles for drinking water, blankets, ropes, and canvas to Kathmandu. A great initiative was seen in Berlin: Siemens Healthcare had chartered a plane to deliver a control cabinet for a magnetic resonance imaging scanner to Nepal. Because the cabinet only took up part of the available space on the aircraft, Siemens made the rest available to the German Red Cross, which could fly 13.5 tons of aid to Nepal at no cost. In total, the GRC dispatched three relief flights containing 95 tons of essential supplies to Nepal over the first few weeks.

According to the GRC, transportation in the early days following a disaster is of the greatest importance: thanks to many donations, the aid is available but arrangements to get it to where it is needed have not been. The collaboration between Siemens and the GRC was unique in the history of the GRC. The German and the Nepalese Red Cross also supplied over 200 family tents to the mountainous region of Solukhumbu in Nepal; together with the Finnish and French Red Cross, a mobile health clinic was also set up in one of the more remote areas a short while later.

Disaster relief, however, is about more than a one-off gesture of aid: It is a lasting, long-term approach to recovery. Over the coming months, a critical issue will therefore be supporting communities and re-establishing local infrastructures. The Red Cross also helps people to help themselves so that they can better cope with disasters in the future.

The image at the top of the page shows a team of young volunteers from the Nepalese Red Cross distributing tents and canvas in the remote village of Khalchok, located on a mountain ridge. 115 of the 135 houses in the village were completely destroyed or are now inhabitable.

References:

Cultural Diplomacy News
Stella Comunello, CD News