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Forklift Maker Offers Help to Hurricane Harvey Victims

Downtown Houston flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

On August 26, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the eastern coast of Texas, leaving in its wake devastation, death, and more than $200 billion in damage.

Now the largest supplier of forklifts in the US, Toyota, has donated $50,000 in aid to Gulf Coast communities affected by the deadly storm.

The money -- which came from Toyota Industries Corporation, Toyota Materials Handling USA, Toyota Industrial Equipment, and Toyota Commercial Finance -- will help local Toyota dealerships that suffered storm damage, as well as area communities and the American Red Cross.

Houston Area Still Recovering

With sustained winds of higher than 130 miles per hour, Hurricane Harvey officially was the costliest tropical cyclone on record and the second-costliest natural disaster in recorded history. The storm left behind 91 dead, 90 of whom were in the US, and countless injuries.

In Texas alone, more than 300,000 people were left without electricity and an estimated 13,000 people had to be rescued throughout the state. Another 30,000 were displaced by the storm. About 1,000 homes were completely destroyed by the storm and another 17,000 sustained significant damage. Nearly 700 businesses were damaged as well.

The storm affected the refinery industry, oil, and gas production, and flooded much of the city of Houston. At one point after the storm, an estimated 25 to 30 percent of Houston's Harris County was submerged underwater.

The storm forced the temporary closure or area airports, as well as NASA's Johnson Space Center, with only mission control staff allowed to remain inside control rooms to monitor procedures of the International Space Station.

Toyota Dealerships Affected

Among the victims of Hurricane Harvey were Toyota Forklift employees, according to Tracy Stachniak, TMHU's director of human resources, training, and development.

"The recent hurricanes caused major damage to many areas, including Houston, where some of our dealer employees lost homes and vehicles," Stachniak said in a TMHU news release announcing the donation. "We rallied together to support our family members and the community of Houston. We're proud the Toyota family is always eager to support one another in a time of need."

More Help Coming

In addition to the donations from Toyota, TMHU also will make a dollar for dollar match for all donations in support of Toyota associates in the Houston area, with the funds issued to workers as relief grants to cover the cost of utilities, home repairs, transportation, lodging, emergency medical expenses, food, clothing, and other urgent needs.

The support will benefit employees at Toyota Lift of Houston, Toyota Lift of South Texas, and the Houston community.