Many of Komatsu's products (especially construction equipment) are vital for recovery and reconstruction in the wake of a natural disaster.
In the event of an emergency, we promptly grasp the local situation and support disaster recovery in a substantial way, such as providing equipment needed by the disaster area. As part of these efforts, we have initiated support activities using drones as well as construction machines. The latest activities are as follows:
In Australia, large-scale forest fires occurred successively from September 2019 to February 2020. Before heavy rains caused the fires to subside in February, more than 100,000 km2, nearly one third of the land area of Japan, caught fire. Approximately 6,000 buildings were affected, and many people were injured or killed. Air pollution caused by smoke and ecosystem destruction were also significant. Statistics indicate that more than one billion animals may have been killed.
To address the continually spreading fire, employees of Komatsu Australia took volunteer leave to participate in volunteer fire extinguishing groups or support their local community. They drove tanker trucks and delivered relief aid, taking several days to reach the affected areas, built berms to prevent fires from spreading, and participated in controlled burns of fields, also to prevent the spread of the fires. They worked actively together with the local population.
Northern Chile, the home to many world-class mines, is frequently affected by natural disasters. During the 10 years from 2010 to 2019, it incurred serious damage from three earthquakes, two large fires, and two floods.
Komatsu Cummins Chile Ltda. (KCC), a Komatsu group company, has concluded a disaster control agreement with multiple freight companies and construction equipment operator staffing companies so that they can not only donate money to affected areas and dispatch employees as volunteers, but also provide support instantaneously through their main business line in the event of disaster. If a disaster occurs, KCC will pay the rental and maintenance costs for construction equipment used in the recovery and reconstruction. The freight companies that have entered into agreements with them will transport vehicles to the affected areas, and the operator staffing companies will conduct on-site work.
When a heavy rain disaster occurred in northern Chile in January 2020, they lent 320 wheel loaders to the affected area in two days for emergency relief.
In July 2020, heavy rains severely damaged the municipalities near the Kuma River running through Kumamoto prefecture.
The municipal governments requested support, and through Komatsu Customer Support Japan Ltd., we lent three municipalities, Yatsushiro-shi, Ashikita-machi and Kuma-mura, 15 construction machines with a value of 20 million yen which were needed in these areas from August 2020 to the end of March 2021. The rental was free of charge.
The rented vehicles were used in recovery efforts including the clearing disaster waste from houses and stores, the moving of earth and sand displaced by the disaster and the clearing driftwood.
*Pro bono: Initiatives and organizations to apply specialized job experiences and knowledge in volunteer activities.
In Japan, Komatsu has mainly assisted in areas affected by earthquakes. For wind and flood damage, which have increased in recent years, the damage is concentrated in limited areas or villages in many cases, and thus, we could not provide assistance in a more detailed manner in some cases.
During Typhoon Hagibis that crossed Japan in October of 2019, many rivers flooded and there were successive mudslides in several places in Japan. More than 90 thousand houses were affected around the nation.
Komatsu provided 10 million yen in support, including supplying equipment and materials.
By request from the local government, we used drones to survey the washed-out areas of the Iruma River in Saitama prefecture for free. Drone surveys enable the survey to approach dangerous affected sites to understand their situation quickly, which also leads to prompt restoration work.
OPENJAPAN (head office: Miyagi prefecture) is a group of volunteers who have expertise in construction and civil engineering. They quickly rush to affected areas around Japan to clean up affected houses as well as conduct recovery and reconstruction work. Though many of the volunteers possess a great deal of skill to operate construction vehicles, recovery from disasters also requires the relevant expertise. Through daily training, they aim to carry out safe and effective recovery and reconstruction operations.
This time, by request from the Marumori-machi government in Miyagi prefecture, which was significantly affected by Typhoon Hagibis, and after hearing from the people on-site about their needs, Komatsu donated a used PC30MR mini shovel, as well as money for the rental of heavy equipment, fuel, and materials (e.g. blue tarps and crane tools) that were necessary for the OPENJAPAN activities in Marumori-machi so that they can be used for not only the reconstruction support activities in Marumori-machi, but also future training.