METRO Group helps Haiti: first cargo flight with relief goods for the earthquake victims takes off

22 February 2010

  • Welthungerhilfe President Bärbel Dieckmann and CEO Dr. Eckhard Cordes see off the relief transport
  • More than 125 tons of relief goods from the Metro sales divisions for Haiti – Donations in kind and financial aid worth one million euro
  • Second cargo flight planned for early March

Today, METRO Group launched one of the largest relief campaigns in the company's history. At Düsseldorf airport, Bärbel Dieckmann, President of hunger relief agency Welthungerhilfe, and CEO Dr. Eckhard Cordes saw off the first METRO Group cargo flight to help the earthquake victims in Haiti. The cargo plane is filled with relief goods donated by Metro Cash & Carry, Real, Media Markt and Saturn, Galeria Kaufhof as well as the real estate company METRO Group Asset Management. For the first time in the history of METRO Group all sales divisions have cooperated in this form on a joint relief operation. The second cargo flight is planned for early March. The total value of the aid shipment weighing more than 125 tons: one million euro. 

Bärbel Dieckmann, President of the cooperation partner Welthungerhilfe, praised the humanitarian commitment of METRO Group: "This support is extraordinary and remarkable. Especially now, when many reporters have already left the country, the population urgently needs our sustained support over the next months. METRO Group sets a good example". 

For putting together the shipment, Germany's largest retailing company cooperated closely with the Welthungerhilfe. The non-profit organisation made a list of what the survivors of the disaster that occurred on January 12 need most urgently. Among other items, the METRO Group cargo planes were loaded with tents, diesel generators, satellite telephones, tools, personal hygiene items, cooking pots as well as school materials ranging from teaching tools to pens, and toys for the children living in that country. 

"The pictures of destruction and the suffering of the people in Haiti have deeply moved us", said Dr. Eckhard Cordes, CEO of METRO Group. "As a company that takes its corporate social responsibility seriously, it was immediately clear to us that we would help the people in the disaster area. We want to effectively contribute to the reconstruction". Cordes praised the commitment and spontaneous readiness to help of the METRO Group employees. "We did not have to ask anyone to do something. Everyone volunteered to help". The CEO also thanked for the unbureaucratic cooperation with Lufthansa Cargo Charter who ship the relief goods at cost price and to the Düsseldorf airport management who will assume the aircraft starting and landing fees, ground handling charges, costs for de-icing as well as all other organisational expenses due at the airport.  

Christoph Blume, Spokesman of the airport management: "Also one month after the strong earthquake the people in the disaster region of Haiti are still in great distress. Therefore, it is a matter of course for us to support METRO Group with its relief flights to the affected region". "Lufthansa Cargo Charter has always supported relief flights to disaster areas", said Managing Director Reto R. Hunziker. "Normally, we conduct humanitarian aid flights at cost price. We consider offering relief agencies the possibility to ship as many relief goods as possible to the affected region fast and at a reasonable price as our contribution to help those affected". 

For the first shipment of relief supplies to Haiti METRO Group chartered an MD11 cargo plane. The take-off of the second MD11 at Frankfurt airport is planned for early March. The complete transport is coordinated by the Metro in-house logistics company MGL METRO Group Logistics. 

All METRO Group sales divisions contributed to the compilation of the aid supplies. Among other items, the wholesale stores of Metro Cash & Carry provided around 200 tents, 8,000 plastic tarpaulins, 4,000 hoes and tools as well as around 15,000 sets of cutlery. Real contributed personal hygiene items such as 36,000 bars of soap, 15,000 toothbrushes, disposable shavers and diapers – as well as 3,000 footballs for the traumatised children in Haiti, another 2,400 balls were supplied by Galeria Kaufhof. The department store chain in addition also donated 4,000 cooking pots, 3,000 blankets and school supplies such as school bags, writing pads and pens. Media Markt and Saturn contributed 8,000 torch lights and several satellite telephones. The real estate company METRO Group Asset Management supplied more than 20 diesel-operated emergency power generators. 

Welthungerhilfe will take on to distribute the relief goods in Haiti. They will be distributed to the two Welthungerhilfe centres in Jacmel and Petit Goave southwest of Port-au-Prince. This way it is ensured that the help will also directly reach those suffering from the earthquake.Verteilung der Hilfsgüter wird in Haiti von der Welthungerhilfe übernommen. Sie werden an den beiden Welthungerhilfe-Standorten in Jacmel und Petit Goave südwestlich von Port-au-Prince verteilt werden. Damit ist sichergestellt, dass die Hilfe auch direkt bei den Leidtragenden des Erdbebens ankommt. 

METRO Group is one of the largest and most international retailing companies. In 2009 the Group reached sales of around € 66 billion. The company has a headcount of some 300,000 employees and operates over 2,100 stores in 33 countries. The Group's performance is based on the strength of its sales divisions which operate independently in their respective market segment: Metro/Makro Cash & Carry – the international leader in self-service wholesale, Real hypermarkets, Media Markt and Saturn – European market leader in consumer electronics retailing, and Galeria Kaufhof department stores.