Media Information: Wal-Mart's response to Hurricane Katrina

Sep. 4, 2005

1 Min. Read

Hurricane Katrina information

Hurricane Katrina video for download (broadcast quality)

Wal-Mart president and CEO Lee Scott toured the Astrodome with Presidents Bush and Clinton, and met with displaced Wal-Mart/SAM’S CLUB associates now working in Houston.

Katrina Relief Effort Fact Sheet:

This report will be updated as needed.

Facilities closed at peak of Hurricane Katrina: 126

Facilities currently closed due to Hurricane Katrina: 9
Supercenters: 6
Division 1 Stores: 2
Neighborhood Mkt: 0
Sam’s Club locations: 1
DCs: 0
Call Centers: 0


Financial assistance

  • Wal-Mart is leading the corporate drive to assist in relief efforts, with $17 million in cash donations to aid emergency relief efforts including $15 million to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, $1 million to the Salvation Army and $1 million to the American Red Cross.
  • Provided $3 million worth of merchandise and in-kind donations throughout Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas to shelters and command centers.
  • Provided more than $9.2 million in cash assistance to impacted associates through Wal-Mart’s Associate Disaster Relief Fund.
  • Gave $20,000 in cash donations to assists various animal shelters and organizations taking in lost animals in hurricane impacted areas
  • Has raised more than $7 million in public contributions made directly by customers at our 3,800 Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB locations. These dollars will be donated to emergency relief efforts.

Additional assistance

  • So far, 2,450 Wal-Mart truck loads have been dispatched to communities throughout the Gulf States and Texas, including 100 truckloads of donated merchandise.
  • Wal-Mart has provided its drivers and trucks in special instances to acquire and transport relief supplies, water, food and clothing donated by outside community members and organizations wanting to assist residents of Louisiana and Mississippi.
  • 70 pallets of clothing were donated and shipped to World Vision’s Gifts In Kind Warehouse in Dallas to help evacuees.
  • Through Wal-Mart Photo Centers and Walmart.com, pictures of friends and loved ones can be posted on-line for free at any store to assist in efforts to locate and find those who could be missing.
  • Wal-Mart set up donation centers in various shelters to help arriving evacuees needing personal health and beauty products, clothing, diapers, wipes, tooth brushes, as well and food and water– all donated by Wal-Mart.  For example,
  • At the Houston Astrodome, Wal-Mart also provided 5 trucks of relief supplies, 45 associate volunteers, and donated a computer, fax machine, TV, VCR and children’s movies.
  • At the George R. Brown Convention Center, Wal-Mart has delivered two trucks of merchandise including diapers, formula and undergarments.
  • More than 150 Internet-ready computers were donated and delivered to shelters to help evacuees and families find each other via the Wal-Mart and Red Cross Web sites.
  • Wal-Mart nationwide announced it would fill prescriptions, free of charge, to evacuees with emergency medicine needs and no money, even if they did not have a copy of their prescription.
  • Provided products, free of charge, in hard hit areas, such as in Pass Christian and Waveland, Mississippi, where truckloads of water, ice and dry food were distributed to residents in conjunction with the National Guard.  A mobile pharmacy has also been established when the store could not open in Waveland.
  • Wal-Mart offered free check cashing in approximately 126 stores in the hurricane disaster area for an initial two-week period.  This included government, payroll and insurance checks and computer-generated checks. 
  • In-store Gift Registry kiosks were made available to victims to sign up for items needed so that others across the country could see those needs and assist in purchasing and sending items to those persons.
  • Donated the use of 25 vacant facilities in impacted states for relief efforts.  Uses include evacuee shelters, supply depots, food pantry, a tent city for utility crews and even a dialysis clinic.  The company will pay utilities on these facilities while in use.
  • Established one of the first online Emergency Contact Services to be accessed through any in-store kiosk and through www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com, helping the public to locate and communicate with their friends and family members.  It has received more than 50,000 postings and more than 2.1 million visits.
  • Wal-Mart continues to allow customers to donate to relief efforts in each of its 3,800 stores and clubs.  Donation links to the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund through www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com, www.walmartfoundation.org, www.walmartstores.com, www.samsclub.com. Also allow individuals to donate to these organizations from home.


Financial assistance

  • Provided cash assistance to more than 12,500 associates impacted by the storm.
  • Displaced associates are eligible for up to $1,000 from the Associate Disaster Relief Fund if their homes were flooded or destroyed.  Cash funding has helped associates with acquiring basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, etc.
  • Provided associates with immediate pay for the first three days after the hurricane, whether or not they were scheduled to work.

Additional assistance

  • Initially, more than 34,000 Wal-Mart associates were impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Using the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the set up of a Wal-Mart Emergency Information Line, the company has been in contact with 97.7% of those associates to verify that they are safe.  Established to answer associates questions and concerns, the line has fielded more than 28,000 calls and assisted in helping Wal-Mart provide more than $9.2 million thus far in financial needs to impacted associates. 
  • Wal-Mart offered employment to any associate displaced by the storm at a store, club or distribution convenient to their new location. Approximately 2,400 displaced associates were able to relocate and work at stores.  Some relocated as far away as California and Nevada, but most are working in open stores in their home-state or states near the disaster area such as Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, and Florida.
  • Wal-Mart’s online Emergency Contact Service has received 40,000 posts on its message board from associates alone.
  • Wal-Mart waived medical and dental premiums during the initial pay period for hourly associates in affected areas.
  • In Louisiana alone, 323 displaced associates are now working in new Wal-Mart stores.
  • Many Wal-Mart associates who were evacuated were found by other associates in the Houston Astrodome and at the George R. Brown Convention Center by management and associates walking around and holding signs at these locations to find them.