The German chemical company BASF is working with UN-HABITAT in Sri Lanka and India in its continuing support to the tsunami devastated communities bordering the Indian Ocean
A year after the calamity, a disaster relief fund established by BASF employees – BASF-Katastrophenhilfe e.V. – continues to support a number of medium and long-term aid projects in the region. Immediately after the disaster, the chemical giant’s workers worldwide donated approximately €1.4 million with BASF doubling this amount to €2.8 million and also providing €1 million in immediate aid, bringing the total to €3.8 million. The independent association managing the funds selects projects in close consultation with BASF companies in the affected countries.
“The response by our employees was overwhelming. It is encouraging to see how the donations are now being turned into housing and educational facilities for the survivors of the disaster. Our employees in the region are playing a major part with their commitment,” said Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, BASF board member responsible for the Asia Pacific region.
After the tsunami of 26 December 2004, UN-HABITAT partnered with BASF in a unique arrangement that gave rise to an opportunity for private sector engagement. The added value of BASF participation was the provision of technologies and capacities, including those of their partners, to support UN-HABITAT’s integrated approach to sustainable relief, reconstruction and longer-term urban development.
The two activities identified as the focus of the support aim to enhance the technical and financial capacity of local authorities and communities in Galle and Matara, Sri Lanka, to facilitate the recovery and reconstruction process. In Galle, BASF is working with UN-HABITAT to reconstruct a fish market to help local fishing families found a new existence. Under this project, local people will receive training in restaurant management, tourism through a microcredit scheme. This will help them to work in the tourist industry and enhance food safety for seafood consumers.
BASF is also contributing some €100,000 to a UN-HABITAT project to establish a model community building in India.
Other projects supported by BASF include the building of 200 homes in Mandane on the east coast of Sri Lanka, immediate relief aid to Indonesia and financial support for the construction of an orphanage with an integrated school in Banda Aceh. In India, the company supported immediate relief efforts by the government helped purchase of fully equipped fishing boats, thus restoring the livelihood of 90 affected families in a village in southern India. In Thailand, it has helped rebuild two schools.
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals to crude oil and natural gas.