Coca-Cola worker changes wed­ding plans to join a flood re­lief team

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By WANG ZHUOQIONG wangzhuo­qiong@chi­

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.

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