BENTONVILLE, Ark., March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Walmart (NYSE: WMT) announced an initial commitment of $5 million (USD) in cash and in-kind donations for emergency relief efforts in response to the tragic 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that have left thousands dead and tens of thousands homeless in Japan. Also, Walmart operations around the world are planning or have implemented fundraising drives among associates and customers to provide additional relief funds for the victims.
Within the first three days following the earthquake and tsunami, Walmart associates, working across Japan, quickly took action to help by setting up distribution points for relief items in our store parking lots when the stores themselves were too damaged to open. In the immediate aftermath, our stores and distribution centers provided in-kind donations to the victims including water, food and sanitary items.
"With the impact of this earthquake on our own communities, customers, associates and suppliers, we wanted to reach out with assistance as soon as possible," said Scott Price, executive vice president, president and CEO of Walmart Asia. Price added that Walmart was also mounting a full scale operation to get additional relief supplies into Japan. The supplies include 95 tons of water, acrylic blankets, tents, warm clothes, fleece, portable toilets, flashlights, batteries, and other necessary relief items.
"Our operations in Japan are actively engaged in providing assistance on the ground, and we're continuing to monitor the situation and look for additional ways that we can help with the relief efforts," added Toru Noda, president and CEO, Walmart Japan. He added that since the disaster struck Walmart associates were working around the clock to keep supply going to the Seiyu stores in Japan which had become a lifeline for local communities.
Walmart fully acquired Seiyu in 2008. Currently there are 35,892 associates, 371 Seiyu stores and 43 Wakana deli stores in Japan. There are 24 Seiyu stores and 1,877 associates in the Sendai area.
"Giving back to our communities, especially in a time of need, is part of our culture at Walmart," said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart International. "A crisis only reinforces that commitment, and our thoughts are with those affected by this disaster."
Walmart has long been recognized as a corporate leader around the globe in the area of disaster relief. Most recently, Walmart supported flood relief efforts in Brazil, with cash and in-kind donations valued at more than $1 million (USD). In addition, Walmart contributed more than $3 million (USD) in cash and in-kind donations for the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. Walmart also contributed $3 million (USD) for the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. The Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From Feb. 1, 2009 through Jan. 31, 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $512 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally, $467 million of which was donated in the U.S. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.