- During disasters, Wal-Mart puts its own nationwide response center in motion, with sophisticated communications and a state-of-the-art shipping network.
The system is so efficient that after Hurricane Katrina, Wal-Mart sometimes arrived with much-needed food and supplies before the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA was widely criticized for its slow response to those in need after Katrina hit.
But Wal-Mart's response was faster and, in one case, the company even provided stranded police officers with clothes and ammunition. Now, in areas hit by Rita, Wal-Mart has already shipped donated clothes and supplies. It has even reopened stores in places with no electricity.
"If this place wouldn't be open, we wouldn't have nothing right now," said one resident of Lake Charles, La., where Rita wiped out electricity, phone service and running water."This has been a lifesaving place."
Now some are suggesting that the government should study how it is that Wal-Mart, as well as other companies like Home Depot, Lowe's Home Improvement, and the Waffle House, were able to provide disaster relief so quickly.