Coca-Cola worker changes wedding plans to join a flood relief team
Wu Hao has worked for a major soft drinks company in Hunan province for four years and planned to get married earlier this month.
But torrential rain for the past three weeks devastated his home city of Ningxiang and the surrounding areas, forcing him to change his wedding arrangements.
A local business representative of COFCO Coca-Cola Huazhong Beverages Ltd, Wu postponed the ceremony and joined a “Clean Water 24” emergency program rolled out by his firm.
On the night of June 30, he was part of the team that delivered 36,000 bottles of water to the Huaihua area, where floods had devastated towns and villages.
“We were there because we cared,” Wu, 27, said. “To see the smiles on the faces of people encouraged us to carry on.”
By July 6, the soft drinks company, along with nearly 700 employees, had delivered 982,980 bottles of water to flood-hit areas in Guizhou and Hunan provinces.
In Southeastern Sichuan province, another Coca-Cola employee was helping with a flood relief team.
About 6 am on June 24, a massive landslide buried a mountain village of 62 homes in Maoxian county, killing 10 people and leaving more than 93 missing. Government rescue teams frantically searched for survivors trapped beneath rocks and mud dislodged by heavy rainfall.
Mo Changkun, a senior business representative at the Coca-Cola China Sichuan plant, was shocked by the disaster, which had devastated his home village of Xinmo and had claimed the lives of several relatives.
Immediately, he traveled to the area after contacting his supervisor and colleagues. At the same time, Coca-Cola’s China disaster system activat- ed its “Clean Water 24” emergency program by utilizing its distribution networks close to the devastated regions.
After hours of driving and another four kilometers of walking, Mo finally arrived at Xinmo village.
What he saw left him stunned, with collapsed houses buried under piles of rock. “People were in urgent need of clean water,” he said. “I then provided first-hand feedback on the situation to the Coca- Cola ‘ Clean Water 24’ emergency team.
“It was on the road with cases of water,” he added. “The team was being led by my colleague Zhou Wei , a manager at the Coca-Cola Sichuan Plant.”
The challenges were immense for Zhou and his colleagues.
Damaged roads made it hard for the trucks carrying water to access the region. Zhou had to liaise with local distributors so they could send it by mini vans.
A trip that would normally take one hour stretched to five. But with the help of employees, a total of 45,600 bottles of water were delivered to the village within 24 hours.
Launched by Coca-Cola’s China disaster system in 2013, “Clean Water 24” is an innovative initiative that mobilizes the company’s supply chain in the event of a nationwide disaster to provide drinking water. The group has integrated its logistics and warehouse facilities to link up with local governments and civil associations. It works so well that response times have been cut to only 10 hours and 30 minutes on average in 2016.
During the past four years, the relief system has been activated 151 times. More than 14.8 million bottles of drinking water have been delivered to disaster-hit communities.
Staff members from COFCO Coca-Cola Huazhong Beverages Ltd deliver water bottles to flood-devasdated area in Hunan province in July.