Merck's Office of Corporate Philanthropy serves as the central clearinghouse for information regarding Merck's companywide response to major disasters, and works with the Office of Corporate Responsibility to make decisions related to the company's donations of cash and/or medicines and vaccines in a disaster situation.
In response to the major earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Merck made cash donations that exceeded $2 million, which included a contribution of $1.25 million by The Merck Company Foundation, in addition to Merck employee donations. A large percentage of the employee donations were from Japan, which were matched by the Foundation. Of the total amount, $750,000 was distributed to Save the Children and $500,000 was sent to the American Red Cross. Approximately $550,000 in local product inventory was also donated to local medical groups. The company is continuing to work with our relief partners as the people of Japan rebuild their lives and communities.
At Merck, we believe that indiscriminate responses to urgent requests for assistance can be counterproductive. Therefore, we follow the long-standing recommendation by the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance that a company's response be made on the basis of a firsthand assessment of need by local authorities and/or a designated relief agency. In major disaster situations, donations of Merck medicines are often made directly by the local Merck subsidiary or manufacturing facility. Where appropriate, and in consultation with local Merck management, the Office of Corporate Responsibility may donate pharmaceuticals and vaccines through the disaster and emergency relief component of the Merck Medical Outreach Program.
Our goals in providing disaster relief are to:
The Merck Company Foundation is providing a $1.5 million grant over three years (20092011) to support the American Red Cross Latin America Risk Reduction Activity (LARRA) project in seven countries in Central and South America: Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Paraguay and Peru. LARRA's goal is to help vulnerable communities and Red Cross national societies operating in disaster-prone areas by enhancing capacity in disaster preparedness and first aid and by helping to create opportunities to achieve higher standards of living.
To date, LARRA has reached nearly 26,000 beneficiaries. By offering information and training in disaster risk-management methods, volunteers in all seven countries have strengthened local capacity and enhanced disaster-preparedness activity at the community level.
Merck is also a long-standing member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). The Merck Company Foundation has pledged $2 million over four years (20102013) to support the ADGP and to help ensure that the Red Cross can be on the scene of a disaster as soon as possible. When disasters occur, the Red Cross is there to provide essential relief services for those in need. Our support helps the Red Cross deliver assistance immediately across affected areas, in partnership with local agencies.
Drought conditions in the Horn of Africa during 2011, coupled with conflict in Somalia, affected more than 13 million people in the region—including more than 300,000 children who were facing starvation. Malnutrition rates were at critical levels as the region suffered its worst dry spell in 50 years. To help with humanitarian response efforts, Merck contributed $100,000 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and $100,000 to the World Food Program USA to support their respective emergency response operations in the region.
During 2011, the United States experienced a number of tornadoes, tropical storms and hurricanes, including Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, as well as torrential rain, severe flooding and other storms in many areas of the country. To help support disaster response efforts, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, Merck contributed $150,000 to the American Red Cross, in addition to The Merck Company Foundation's annual $500,000 contribution to the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program. Merck also donated medicines, vaccines and consumer care products valued at more than $600,000 to partner organizations through the Merck Medical Outreach Program.