Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed Hurricane Harvey in a letter to employees on Wednesday, detailing the company's efforts to help those impacted by the storm, including its own workers, as well as ongoing projects to offer aid and assistance in the region.
In the memo, a copy of which was obtained by BuzzFeed News, Cook notes Apple helped raise more than $3 million in aid for the American Red Cross donations. That figure includes more than $1 million in employee and iTunes donations — which opened on Sunday — and a $2 million pledge Apple made over the weekend.
On the ground, Apple dispatched its global crisis management team to help Texas based employees impacted by ongoing flooding, Cook said. Apple currently employs more than 8,700 in Texas, most of whom work at the state's 18 Apple stores and a large headquarters in Austin. According to Apple's website, stores in the Houston region are currently closed due to the storm, but Cook says the company is working to get "as many as possible" open by tomorrow.
Coincidentally, Cook was in Austin the day before Harvey made landfall to promote an expansion of Apple's "App Development with Swift" college curriculum.
"I was in Austin the day before Harvey came ashore, and the team was already bracing for the storm and the long recovery. Today that work continues," Cook said. "At our Austin campuses, we are kicking off a donation drive in partnership with the Central Texas Food Bank and CaffÃ© Macs to collect food, diapers and personal hygiene items — all things that are critical in the aftermath of a storm of this magnitude."
In addition to corporate relief efforts, Apple's hardware is being utilized by the U.S. government to coordinate search and rescue operations. Specifically, nearly 24 USCG helicopters taking part in the action are equipped with iPads, Cook said.
The email in full:
As you know, Hurricane Harvey is having a devastating impact on Texas and Louisiana. Our thoughts are with our employees in the storm zone and the millions of people whose lives have been disrupted by rain, wind and floods. I want to update you on some of the things Apple has been doing to help, and ways that you can get involved.
On the ground, Apple's global crisis management team is working to support our employees directly affected by the flooding in Texas. The team is in close contact with Apple employees in the Houston area, and they're actively doing everything they can to assist, including moving some employees and their families to safety. Apple employees in the Houston area have generously been helping people displaced by the flooding by opening their homes to team members and their families, and in some cases, assisting in rescue operations. We're also proud that the US Coast Guard is using Apple products in those efforts, with nearly two dozen USCG helicopters specially equipped with iPads to help coordinate search and rescue teams.
As Harvey was making landfall, we put in motion critical donation programs. Apple is making it easy for customers to donate directly to the American Red Cross through the App Store, iTunes and apple.com, and we're matching employee donations two-for-one. Thanks to your generosity and that of our users, Apple has helped raise more than $1 million in just the past few days. That's in addition to the $2 million Apple pledged to the Red Cross over the weekend.
Though our stores in the Houston area are still closed today, we're working hard to get as many as possible open tomorrow to serve people who have been impacted by the storm. Our teams are eager to help with problems large and small, and they know there are lots of people in that area who need it.
I was in Austin the day before Harvey came ashore, and the team was already bracing for the storm and the long recovery. Today that work continues. At our Austin campuses, we are kicking off a donation drive in partnership with the Central Texas Food Bank and CaffÃ© Macs to collect food, diapers and personal hygiene items — all things that are critical in the aftermath of a storm of this magnitude.
Because Texas is home to more than 8,700 of our coworkers, the storm's impact is felt by all of us. There's still much to do, and Apple is committed to help.