In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, White & Case volunteers operated convoys of emergency relief, rescued friends and family, and helped with reconstruction efforts in the most devastated areas in the Philippines.
Mark Galutera, the head of White & Case's shared services facility, DSM Manila, at the time, dubbed his team's multifaceted and ambitious relief efforts "Operation Rainbow" as it swung into action immediately after the typhoon hit. During November and December of 2013, our people in Manila held many local fundraising drives to fund two deliveries of critical supplies to the areas most affected. From an employee garage sale to donations of gifts for children to Dress Down Passes, which enabled employees to dress casually for a fee—all funds went to Operation Rainbow. Volunteers also raised money by running road races, donating lunch money and hosting picnic fundraisers.
What inspired me the most were the town's children who had lost their homes and school, but managed to wear tireless smiles and accompany us during our mission.
Human Resources Shared Services,
In addition to this outstanding effort by our Manila team, the Firm offered a global gift matching program for employee donations to Philippines relief efforts and made a donation to the Philippines Red Cross, a longtime charitable partner of the Firm.
Task Force Apollo: 35 tons of relief supplies to Guiuan
The first stage of Operation Rainbow was an enormous delivery of supplies to Guiuan in Eastern Samar. Called Task Force Apollo, the project involved more than 75 White & Case volunteers who sorted and assembled more than 2,000 survival packs and other relief goods totaling 35 metric tons and filling a 32-foot-long truck and three vans. Along the road, our team reported seeing many people holding signs saying: "Help us—we need food and water. We survived the typhoon but now we are dying of hunger." As the caravan made its way to Guiuan, the devastation became progressively worse, with very few structures left standing and fallen trees littering the ground. After a grueling four-day journey, the group was welcomed by the mayor and townspeople and unloaded the much-needed goods, which nearly filled City Hall.
Task Force Athena: Reconstruction and medical aid in Leyte
Traveling by air and sea to reach Palompon, Leyte, a second group of DSM Manila employees, joined this time by volunteers with South Africa's Gift of Givers, were the first relief contingent to arrive. For nearly ten days, our volunteers helped reconstruct the local school and hospital, both of which had collapsed during the typhoon. They also helped medical professionals treat an average of 300 patients per day. "What inspired me the most were the town's children who had lost their homes and school, but managed to wear tireless smiles and accompany us during our mission," said Adolf Cruz of DSM Manila Human Resources Shared Services.