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Toyota pledges $1 million to tornado relief

Toyota on Thursday pledged a $1 million contribution to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts for victims of the recent outbreak of tornadoes that killed at least 328 people.
/ Source: msnbc.com news services

Toyota on Thursday pledged a $1 million contribution to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts for victims of the outbreak of tornadoes that killed at least 328 people across seven states in late April.

The auto company also said it would match employees' charitable contributions to the American Red Cross, while providing additional support and assistance to those Toyota employees who have lost their homes.

"All of us at Toyota express our sincere condolences to the families affected by these devastating storms," said Yoshi Inaba, president of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. "Since we have manufacturing plants, suppliers and many dealerships in the regions that were hit the hardest, we felt a special responsibility to lend a hand."

Thousands were thrown out of work by the nation's deadliest tornado outbreak since the Depression. Hundreds of factories and other businesses were destroyed, and many others were left without electricity.

The financial and economic toll is still being tallied, but officials in hardest-hit Alabama — which had more than two-thirds of the dead — said the damage there alone could rival the $1 billion in insured losses the state suffered in Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Among those companies hit was a a Toyota engine plant in Huntsville, Ala., with 800 employees. That facility lost power and was knocked out of commission when a twister damaged electrical transmission lines.

Inaba praised Toyota employees who are helping to rebuild their communities and volunteering to support relief efforts. "We very much appreciate their personal engagement," Inaba said.