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06/01/2021

Amazon dedicates facility to storing emergency supplies

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon is opening its first-ever Disaster Relief Hub in an effort to more quickly aid natural disaster response.

The e-tail giant is operating the facility near Atlanta. Amazon selected this location because it is 310 miles from the Gulf Coast, 734 miles from the Bahamas, and within 1,535 miles of Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands—areas that experience the most active hurricane season.

The hub will stock over 500,000 Amazon-donated relief supplies in 10,000 cubic feet of fulfillment center space. There will be enough supplies to fill an Amazon Air 767 cargo plane and immediately provide critical supplies when a natural disaster strikes across the southeastern U.S., the Caribbean, and Central America.

The process of sending emergency supplies to disaster zones can take multiple days. To quicken that 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 the company’s community partners, including 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 will work with community partners to identify other needed supplies from its selection of products. 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.

“Our disaster relief and response team is partnering with global humanitarian relief organizations to leverage Amazon’s scale to help improve response time to large-scale natural disasters around the world,” said Alicia Boler Davis, VP of global customer fulfillment at Amazon. “Our expertise in logistics and operations allows us to be nimble, fast, and effective. We’ve created the Disaster Relief Hub in metro Atlanta to provide rapid relief when it’s needed most by donating and delivering hundreds of thousands of emergency aid supplies, including shelter materials like tents and tarps, hygiene items, and medical equipment.”

Since 2017, Amazon says it has donated more than $29 million in cash and in-kind products in response to 59 natural disasters around the world.