The earthquake and tsunami that hit the Northeast coast of Japan on Friday have created a humanitarian crisis of global proportions. It touches everything, including the government contracting industry. U.S. contractors are struggling to contact Japanese employees and partners, and are mobilizing to help in any way they can. Employees, including those of us at GovWin, are searching for ways to donate, and locate loved ones and colleagues.
The tsunami’s impact on the contracting industry is far from clear, as the crisis is still unfolding. But the outlines are beginning to appear.
Among the stories this morning:
- U.S. Contractors are reaching out to find employees and colleagues displaced by the disaster. All federal employees are safe and accounted for, according to Federal Times, but some contractors are still attempting to reach employees in Japan. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports on Boeing’s efforts.
- Though some contractors are certain of the welfare of all employees, they cannot be sure when work will return to normal. Shipping giant Maersk, which has earned more than $4 billion from federal work over the past decade, has managed to verify that “no Maersk employees were harmed at home or at work during the natural disaster,” according to the New York Times, but “only a third of Maersk’s employees in Japan were even able to make it to work Monday morning because trains were not running even to ports south of Tokyo. The employees who did make it to work have found it uncommonly quiet.”
- U.S.-based contractors are assembling response teams to assist with recovery efforts. Microsoft has opened up a disaster communications cloud for governments and non-profits responding, according to TechFlash, and made the email hosting service Microsoft Exchange Online “available free for 90 days to business customers in Japan who have communications and collaboration infrastructure problems.” Google has launched a crisis-specific version of its People Finder for Japan.
- General Electric (GE) is moving to assist with the unfolding nuclear crisis at a Fukushima Prefecture atomic energy plant. The Financial Times notes that the company “has offered emergency technical assistance to Japan’s nuclear industry as it tries to stabilize the earthquake hit Fukushima Daiichi atomic plant.”