Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back at work!!!

Manutech in Haiti thanks all customers, suppliers, and friends who have inquired about us since the earthquake of last Tuesday. There has been a lot of media attention on Haiti since the quake, and this update will provide some specific information on Manutech.

The quake hit just before 5 PM last Tuesday, after most of our 470+ employees had left for the day. Some were still in transit home, which was a relatively safe place to be. Our factory building is steel girder construction, and was not damaged, although there was minor disruption inside the building... filing cabinets and computers overturned, drop ceiling panels literally dropping, etc.

We had very little attendence in the days immediately following the quake, as most workers' homes had suffered at least some serious damage, with many being totally destroyed. Those few who did come last week were generally able to pick up and repair the relatively minor interior damages.

Today, Monday January 18th, we have just over 100 workers present and we have re-started production in most departments. We anticipate an increasing attendance tomorrow and in the days to come.

- Port-au-Prince Airport Congestion
Our primary cargo airline has assured us their best efforts in getting our shipments in and out, but U.S. military authorities are operating the airport, and priorities are humanitarian relief. Outbound flights are largely empty, so we expect little difficulty in getting shipments out, although no promises can be made about specific flight dates. Our shipments are small enough so that we are reasonably confident that we should be able to keep product moving in both directions.

- Electricity
There is no city power and no idea when that will return. Fortunately, Manutech has ample back-up generators and a sufficient supply of diesel fuel (2500 gallons) to operate independently of city power. There is no shortage of diesel fuel in the country, although distribution to gas stations is only now re-starting. We expect to be able to hold out with our diesel supply until deliveries are resumed to private industry.

- Workers
We have set up a Haiti Emergency Fund in our Miami office (address below)and are presently surveying workers as they return to complete a personal damage assessment. This assessment will be used to help us distribute 100% of the funds received to those workers having suffered the most serious losses. We are aware of three fatalities among our employees, although quite a few more report the loss of family members. One employee's arm was crushed and required amputation, and undoubtedly injuries are preventing others from returning to work. Beyond our Haiti Emergency Fund which will be 100% distributed in cash to employees, we are investigating the availability of emergency food aid which we have the means of preparing and distributing at the factory.

Our Miami office is functioning normally, and will have more up-to-date information, however we will also be sending additional updates over the coming weeks as we recommence all operations.

Thank you again for your support,

Lance Durban

8181 NW 91 Terrace, #10
Miami, FL 33166
Miami Office Tel. 305-888-2800
Miami Office Fax 305-888-2628
Haiti Plant Tel. 305-953-6591
Haiti Plant Tel. 305-851-5423
Haiti Plant Tel. 305-407-2482
Haiti Plant Fax 305-574-7938

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