Trucking industry lends a hand to tsunami victims

| 1/14/2005

The trucking industry is helping speed relief to victims of the earthquake and tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean Dec. 26, 2004.

UPS announced it is supplying not only money, but transportation services to take relief supplies in.

FedEx is providing transportation to move 402 tons of supplies – including medicine and water purification systems – to Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Thailand.

Truck makers are doing their part, too. Caterpillar has committed $1 million to the effort, which will be given to the Red Cross, Oxfam and The Salvation Army. Caterpillar employees, retirees and directors donated the money, which the company said it would match, up to $2,000 per person.

PACCAR has chipped in with $1 million for the American Red Cross – Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

But even with all that help from the trucking industry, the region could use even more aid. The New York Post reported that in the Indonesian province of Aceh, the area hardest hit by the killer wave, relief efforts were complicated because of a lack of truck drivers.

“Drivers, the same as government officials, are taking care of their families,” Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla told reporters. “There are no drivers at all.”

Reports in the Detroit Free Press and Fort Worth Star Telegram said Indonesia has more than 104,000 dead, more than 131,000 missing and more than 655,000 left homeless. Sri Lanka was second hardest hit, with more than 30,000 dead and more than 800,000 homeless. Worldwide, the death toll at press time was more than 150,000 and more than 1.5 million homeless.