Monday, May 19, 2008
One week ago, an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude struck in Sichuan. Everyone in China was shocked and then heartbroken as reported deaths climbed from 10,000 to 20,000 to more than 32,000 people. The death toll is still rising, and the number of injured and missing is many times greater.
But the Chinese people have faced this disaster with resilience, compassion, and courage. There have been non-stop airlifts, blood donations, and rescue missions. One bold executive drove hundreds of miles in his jeep, started digging, and saved several lives. Taxi drivers stopped carrying passengers and drove to affected areas to help. One hundred thousand brave soldiers risked (and some gave) their lives to look for every possible survivor. Here in Beijing more than a thousand families have volunteered to adopt children who have lost their parents. Everyone is eager to help -- and that includes Googlers.
Within hours of the earthquake, our China-based teams pulled together to use Google's resources and technology to help. At the request of the government, we obtained new satellite images of Sichuan province (Earth KML) to help them better focus their recovery efforts. We developed and launched a “lost loved one” search based on our Custom Search Engine (CSE). To populate the CSE index, hundreds of Googlers worked around the clock looking through published tables, hospital records, news reports, and community sites. We tuned our Chinese news search, video search, image search, blog search, and oneboxes. We also partnered to build community sites, and launched both homepage promotions and a map-based information page. Google China has an extremely dedicated and passionate team and I am deeply honored to work alongside them.
In addition to these efforts here in China, Googlers worldwide have also made substantial financial donations to the relief operations. As a company, we’ve committed $2 million for disaster relief and rebuilding, in addition to donating a large advertising budget for donation ads and public service announcements to aid organizations throughout the world.
We have also created a Google Checkout donations page so you can easily donate to Mercy Corps, which works with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, or the Tsinghua Foundation, which works with the Red Cross Society of China. Both organizations have assured us that all of the proceeds will go directly to earthquake relief.
Our efforts are but one piece of a giant effort now underway, bringing together the governments, private companies, NGOs and countless heroic individuals -– all striving to address this disaster as quickly and comprehensively as we can.
Please pray for the victims of the earthquake. May the injured rest and recover. May the survivors be resilient. May all of us learn from the Chinese people to turn our anxiety into courage, misery into compassion, and sorrow into love.