Natural and human-caused disasters often devastate local businesses, demolish infrastructure, displace residents and bring commerce to a halt. When communities around the world must endure these hard times, UPS is there to lend a hand. We work with global relief and aid organizations to respond and help rebuild communities after a disaster. We also help provide tools and resources so they’re better prepared to withstand future disasters.
Our global reach and optimized network in more than 220 countries and territories gives us the ability to provide aid when and where it’s needed most. In addition to providing funds and in-kind assistance, UPS also partners with many of the world’s top humanitarian relief agencies such as the American Red Cross, CARE, Salvation Army, UN-OCHA, UNICEF, UNISDR, UNHCR, Good360, NVOAD, MedShare, WHO, Save the Children and the World Food Programme. A collaboration of our skills and expertise has the power to help communities recover more efficiently and more effectively.
Accelerating Technology for Humanitarian Relief
In 2017, we provided over $11 million in humanitarian relief funding for disaster response, recovery and emergency preparedness, and coordinated 546 humanitarian shipments across 61 countries. UPS played a major role in response efforts following disasters such as a devastating hurricane season in the U.S. and the Caribbean, severe famine across East Africa, and flooding across the United States. UPS also provided urgent relief shipments for refugees in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
UPS donates money and materials, but we also donate the time and expertise of our skilled employees who supplement our partner organizations’ efforts by volunteering in times of greatest need. The UPS Humanitarian Experts on Mission Program places UPS logistics experts on long-term assignment to our partner organizations. For example, UPS managers utilize their extensive Healthcare, Engineering, and Customer Solutions experience to develop strategies for governments in Africa in partnership with Gavi and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. You can learn more about the humanitarian relief efforts of The UPS Foundation in their section.
Taking to the Skies to Deliver Urgent Supplies through Rwanda Drone Network
Rwanda Drone Delivers Humanitarian Relief
Solutions in the Sky for Humanitarian Relief
Leveraging technology has long been a focus for The UPS Foundation’s humanitarian response efforts. As a leading global logistics company, UPS believes that every community, no matter how remote, is within our reach. That’s why The UPS Foundation partnered with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Zipline, a California robotics company, to launch the world’s first national medical drone delivery network in Rwanda. This program addresses time-sensitive, last mile delivery, one of the most critical humanitarian challenges.
It’s an age-old problem for which cutting-edge technology is providing new solutions. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that approximately 830 women die each day from preventable causes related to childbirth and pregnancy — with 99 percent of these deaths occurring in developing countries. In Rwanda, access to life-saving blood is critical for doctors caring for new mothers and children. There are significant infrastructure challenges to obtaining blood quickly and the region’s rainy season exacerbates the problem by adding hours to the amount of time blood spends in transit.
To address this need, The UPS Foundation has committed more than $2 million in cash, in-kind, and technical support for drones that quickly deliver blood on demand to doctors in rural hospitals. Drones can bypass washed-out roads and other infrastructure challenges to reach 8 million Rwandans in 30 minutes or less on average, substantially less time than is required to deliver supplies by vehicle. The network serves approximately two-thirds of Rwanda’s geography, delivering supplies to 12 hospitals throughout the country.
The program has been saving lives since its launch, and in 2018, the program will grow from 12 transfusing facilities to 27 facilities, expanding service to local health clinics across the country — and increasing the number of Rwandans covered from 8 to 12 million. As the program expands to include medicine, vaccines, and medical supplies, the availability of supplies by drone will be made available to individuals at clinics for preventive care. If people know that doctors and nurses have access to the medicines and supplies they need, they may be more likely to visit a clinic, leading to improved health outcomes.
Mapping Damage After Harvey
Following the demonstrated success of the medical drone network in Rwanda, UPS applied a similar approach to partnership in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. To assist with recovery efforts, The UPS Foundation, American Red Cross, and drone manufacturer CyPhy Works, Inc., began a pilot project using a tethered drone to assess damage in areas affected by the storm. The pilot could serve as a future model for rapid disaster response.
In the past, Red Cross volunteers have gone door-to-door to assess damage to residents’ homes. When major flooding occurs and roads are impassable, this process can take weeks, further delaying recovery. CyPhy’s Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) system travels up to 400 feet in the air and is equipped with a high-powered camera that provides miles of visibility. This bird’s-eye view can identify homes with water damage, allowing responders to start offering aid before waters recede. PARC’s tethered feature makes it an ideal solution for disaster areas where there is significant ground to cover. It can continue flying while attached to a generator, providing uninterrupted coverage for days or weeks at a time.
When people are facing a health emergency or a natural disaster, every minute counts. Whether delivering urgently needed supplies or accurately and quickly assessing damage, The UPS Foundation is helping save lives and laying the groundwork for faster recovery and rebuilding worldwide.
The UPS Foundation Helps Weather 2017 Storms
The 2017 hurricane season was the most expensive in U.S. history, with three major storms — Harvey, Irma, and Maria — devastating the Caribbean and the U.S.’ southeast coast. The storms broke records for speed, duration, and intensity, and estimates of the damage incurred are in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Amid the season’s chaos, The UPS Foundation offered a beacon of hope. When a disaster strikes, The UPS Foundation moves quickly to mobilize its relief network in support of first responders and provides immediate in-kind relief to assist with response and recovery efforts on multiple fronts. We pledged more than $1 million in support of recovery for each of the three major Atlantic hurricanes. The pledges combined cash grants, in-kind transportation assistance, and technical expertise to provide urgent relief, as well as support for long-term needs ranging from rebuilding to personal and financial recovery.
We also put our logistics capabilities to work throughout each region, deploying supply chain experts to the Caribbean, Florida, and Texas to help coordinate logistics support with partner agencies. After Maria, UPS Airlines flew a total of nearly 30 flights to Puerto Rico to deliver vaccines, health kits, and packaged meals for FEMA, CDC, UNICEF, and others. In support of needs in Cuba, and at the request of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, we flew our first planned flight to the country in company history to deliver tarps, hygiene kits, mosquito nets, and shelter tool kits for 12,000 families.
While hurricanes raged in the Gulf of Mexico, the states of Puebla and Morelos in Central Mexico were hit by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. The Foundation offered funding and in-kind transportation of relief items, including shelters, and logistics support to CENACED, a nonprofit relief organization in Mexico.
Disasters in 2017 left behind an almost unprecedented need for humanitarian aid. Despite this, The UPS Foundation was able to respond effectively even as the toll of destruction rose. This is due in part to our humanitarian giving strategy. We recognize that the needs in the immediate wake of a disaster differ greatly from those in later stages of recovery, and when we make a financial pledge, we communicate up front how much of the funds should be used for emergency response, reserving about half for long-term recuperation. This allows us to budget more effectively for recovery efforts that may last for years. In addition, The UPS Foundation provides $400,000 per year to the Red Cross’s Annual Disaster Giving Program, which supports rapid-response needs such as shelters and food. This approach gives The UPS Foundation and the Red Cross flexibility, even when multiple disasters arise at once.
Responding to catastrophes of this scale is never a simple matter. From planning and resilience-building efforts that prepare communities for the unexpected to logistics and transportation capabilities that provide coordinated relief, The UPS Foundation is carrying out a vital mission that we are uniquely positioned to provide.
Dispatching Expertise When Needed Most
The work that The UPS Foundation does in collaboration with humanitarian relief partners around the world doesn’t end when aid shipments land in a disaster-stricken area. Once materials arrive, making sure aid is delivered where it is needed most hinges on the expertise of Logistics Emergency Team members like Dale Herzog. A 40-year veteran of UPS, Dale’s experience in inventory management and supply chain logistics make him well-equipped to help disaster-stricken areas recover. A New Orleans native, Dale is inspired by his own personal experience with hurricane recovery, and appreciates the importance of getting aid quickly in the wake of a crisis.
Providing Aid for Global Refugees
The refugee crisis around the world has continued to escalate, with staggering numbers of people fleeing their homes in search of safety from conflict.
Global Refugee Crisis
UPS has provided more than $7 million in ongoing refugee support for the crisis since 2012, including significant funding, in-kind, and volunteer support. In 2017, The UPS Foundation and its partners have relief for refugees across Europe, Africa, and Asia, by facilitating shipments of vital relief supplies on behalf of UNHCR, World Food Programme (WFP), CARE, UNICEF, MedShare International, The Salvation Army, and more. These shipments provided much-needed food, shelter, medicine, and hygienic supplies to refugees and internally displaced people.