Inside Logistics

Amazon sets up disaster relief warehouse

Disaster Relief Hub will support humanitarian relief organizations with pre-positioned supplies


June 1, 2021
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Amazon is opening a dedicated warehouse for disaster relief supplies. The facility near Atlanta will store emergency supplies to help relief organizations respond to natural disasters across the southeastern U.S., the Caribbean, and Central America.

The Disaster Relief Hub will initially support six global humanitarian aid organizations: the American Red Cross, Direct Relief, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and World Central Kitchen.

The hub will stock over a half a million Amazon-donated relief supplies in 10,000 cubic feet of fulfillment centre space—enough to fill an Amazon Air 767 cargo plane and immediately provide critical supplies when a disaster strikes.

Atlanta’s proximity to the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean region, and Central America will help Amazon’s community partners swiftly respond to hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters.

When a natural disaster hits, emergency teams quickly assess what supplies they have, procure items they need, and then consolidate, pack, and ship supplies into disaster zones. The process can take multiple days.

Pre-positioning

To quicken that crucial timeframe, Amazon analyzed its data across four years of disaster support and formed a pre-positioning strategy.

The strategy is tailored to the most common relief supplies needed by relief organizations. Those include tarps, tents, water containers and filters, medical equipment, clothing items, and kitchen supplies. Once those critical relief items are on the first flight out, Amazon works with community partners to identify other needed supplies from Amazon’s vast selection of products and fills additional, unique critical needs.

“When a large natural disaster happens, companies like Amazon play an important role in how the American Red Cross responds to help communities and families in immediate need,” said Trevor Riggen, senior vice-president of Disaster Cycle Services at the American Red Cross.

“Amazon’s commitment to disaster relief and preparedness aligns with our mission to help disaster survivors. In order to fulfill this mission, we must have stocked warehouses, trained volunteers, and state-of-the-art systems in place. Amazon’s donation of critical relief supplies and advance pre-positioning efforts allows the Red Cross to stand ready to help at a moment’s notice. We’re honored to count Amazon as one of our most valued partners and are grateful for their continued support to fulfill our mission.”

Amazon’s donation history

Since 2017, Amazon has donated more than US$29 million in cash and in-kind products in response to 59 natural disasters around the world. Amazon’s 2021 disaster relief and response efforts so far include donating and sending critical medical equipment worth over $5 million to support hospitals and other COVID-19 care facilities across India.

Additionally, Amazon donated and delivered over one million bottles of water and thousands of items such as tents, flashlights, and search and rescue equipment to communities impacted by severe storms earlier this year in Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. In 2020, Amazon donated more than a million emergency aid items to communities in the U.S. and abroad hit by hurricanes and wildfires, including water, generators, air filters, food, KN95 masks, and cleaning supplies.

The efforts helped community partners providing disaster relief to people affected by wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington state; Hurricane Laura along the Gulf Coast; earthquakes in Puerto Rico; and Hurricanes Eta and Iota in Central America and the Caribbean.