Letters of sympathy: Doing business in times of national catastrophes

Wie reagieren Sie, wenn Sie Geschäftspartner in einem von einer Naturkastrophe betroffenen Gebiet haben? Oft sagen wir gar nichts, weil wir nicht wissen, was wir sagen können. Doch Mitgefühl zu zeigen ist wichtig. Secretary Today zeigt Ihnen, wie Sie das auf Englisch machen.

How do you react when one of your business partners is based in a country where a serious natural catastrophe, like an earthquake, flooding or a hurricane has happened? It's all too easy just to ignore it and carry on with business as usual, hoping that your business associates have not been personally affected. After all, there's not much we can do to help, is there?

But catastrophes like the 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and this year's cyclone in Myanmar and earthquake in China affect us all. According to psychologists, showing solidarity with the victims of natural disasters is an important step for them to get their lives back to normal. Ignoring them, ignoring what has happened or what is still happening, is hurtful.

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If you are stuck for words to express your feelings, use these phrases and sample letters, or let them inspire you to find your own words. Your business partners will appreciate the thought you have put into the message.

Guidelines for writing letters of sympathy to business partners after natural disasters or other catastrophes

  • Write soon.
  • Be brief and sincere
  • Reaffirm your faith in the company's / government's ability to cope with the misfortune.
  • If appropriate, offer to help.

Here are some useful phrases for your letters of sympathy

  • We send our deepest-felt condolences for the victims of this tragedy. Our thoughts are with you during these difficult moments.
  • I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and by the suffering and damages caused by the landslide in Williamstown.
  • On behalf of the European Lending Bank, I offer my deepest sympathy and condolences to the people of India, especially to the families and relatives of the victims.
  • I would like to extend my sympathy to the people of Scotland who were affected by the severe snowstorms.

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  • My special condolences go to the families of those who have lost their lives.
  • The scale of this disaster is only just becoming apparent. I / we feel deeply for all those affected and join in solidarity with the people of China.
  • We are relieved that the situation, although serious, remains under control, and that relief efforts are proceeding well.
  • We have every confidence that you will be able to overcome the challenges and get the roads and trains moving again.
  • We sincerely hope and wish that the affected areas will return to normality in the shortest possible time.
  • This tragedy is one of the worst natural disasters in history, and we give our full support to the relief efforts underway in the region.
  • The Department of Public Health today expresses its deepest sympathy for the tens of thousands of victims of the recent tsunami that ravaged parts of Asia and East Africa.