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News

ABB helps earthquake victims in Indonesia

ABB Automation Technologies : 27 June, 2006  (Company News)
ABB employees had just completed a project in Yogyakarta on the Indonesian island of Java at the end of May when a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the area. They immediately began to help relieve the suffering of the homeless and injured.
Not only were trucks and pickups from the ABB construction site put to good use, but ABB employees pitched in to help out personally.

The former ABB office in Yogyakarta was devastated by the earthquake.

The Power Division Service unit has even pledged 25,000 Euros of the project outcome to help Indonesian earthquake victims.

ABB office destroyed
'When the earthquake struck, my co-worker Jens Sille and I were already back at our apartment in Jakarta, and we didn't feel the quake,' says project manager, Jrg Holzapfel. 'Our office in Yogyakarta, however, which we had just closed just three days prior to the catastrophe, was completely destroyed.'

They were working on one of ABB's last overhead transmission line projects. The job was completed just before the quake struck, and was turned over to the customer,ndonesia's state run power utility, PLN. 'We were overjoyed to hear that both our two German colleagues Sven Spengler and Rainer Laborenz, who were still on-site in Yogyakarta, as well as the Indonesians locally hired by ABB and their families, all survived the earthquake,' Holzapfel says.

Sven Spengler helps distribute relief supplies, together with Rainer Laborenz and Indonesian ABB colleagues.

They were lucky. According to Indonesian officials, more than 5,800 people were killed and about 43,000 injured, 33,000 seriously, as a result of the quake. Within seconds, at least 600,000 people lost their homes.

ABB's employees reacted quickly. Site vehicles, consisting of seven trucks, six pickups and three tractors, which were scheduled to be sold after the project's completion, were still available for use.

ABB trucks transport food and relief supplies to remote locations destroyed by the earthquake.

Aid organizations were contacted locally using the Internet. 'The Maltese aid organization MHD had personnel and relief supplies on location, but no means of transportation,' Holzapfel recalls.

ABB trucks transport aid
'We were able to immediately use the pickups to drive MHD doctors to remote locations, enabling them to provide direct local assistance and carry the sick and injured to their hospitals. The trucks were used to transport food and relief supplies from government collection points to areas affected by the earthquake. Two soldiers were assigned to each of our trucks for protection against looters.'

Tens of thousand were injured and more than 600,000 lost their homes as a result of May's deadly earthquake on the Indonesian island of Java.

Holzapfel described the despair of the earthquake survivors, many of whom have lost their homes and nearly everything in them.

'Sven Spengler and Rainer Laborenz, together with our Indonesian colleagues, have been working on this project now for more than two weeks, while Jens Sille and I coordinate the relief effort from Jakarta, while of course continuing to move our other Indonesian projects forward,' Holzapfel adds.

A proud service record
The spontaneous actions of the ABB employees also made quite an impression in Mannheim. Michael Halfmann, head of the Power Technologies Division's service organization, is proud.

'The way our ABB colleagues behaved at the site is truly exemplary,' he says.
ABB employees helped MHD bring medical supplies and aid to eathquake victims.

Their accounts of the situation following the catastrophe in Indonesia convinced the Power Technology Division's executive management to play an even stronger role.

'We decided to donate 25,000 Euros to assist the Maltese aid organization in Indonesia, with which we collaborated so successfully in the earthquake zone,' Halfmann adds. 'Over the next few days, we will have meetings to determine how to use the funds.'
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