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06/01/2022

Amazon primes disaster relief hub for wider range of events

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon is preparing to provide relief during a busy hurricane season.

Amazon is kicking off the 2022 hurricane season with a major commitment to disaster relief.

The e-tail giant is marking the official June 1 start to the hurricane season by announcing it will double the storage space in its global Disaster Relief Hub in Atlanta. The company is also pledging to donate 1 million critical relief supplies and increase logistics support in an effort to quickly distribute disaster relief kits to communities both in and outside the U.S. when a catastrophe strikes.

The hub, officially opened by Amazon in June 2021, will pre-position 1 million emergency relief items that include shelter materials, hygiene supplies, medical equipment, cleanup and repair materials, and toys and household items for children. Amazon analyzed its data across four years of disaster support and designed a pre-positioning strategy for the most common relief supplies needed by its humanitarian aid partners. The number of pre-positioned items will be more than double the number of goods pre-positioned in 2021. 

Amazon says it is now ready to activate the hub for a wider range of disaster events, including hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes, and humanitarian crises. The hub will expand to 20,000 cubic feet of fulfillment center space and support more than 10 relief organizations. Relief partners include Save the Children, the American Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Medical Corps, World Central Kitchen, SBP USA, MedShare, and All Hands All Hearts.

The 2022 hurricane season is forecast to see between 14 and 21 named storms, with between six and 10 storms expected to reach hurricane strength, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Amazon selected the location of the disaster relief hub in Atlanta to enable quick response to hurricanes and other natural disasters in the southeastern U.S., along the Gulf Coast, and in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico.

“Over the past year, the Amazon disaster relief hub has allowed us to deliver aid to communities impacted by disasters faster than ever before. We’ve utilized Amazon’s expertise in global logistics and delivery to provide help to those in need—quickly. Through our disaster relief hub in Atlanta and our humanitarian sites in Slovakia and Poland, which we built in just 10 days after the war in Ukraine started, we’ve helped our partners get critical relief items into the hands of the communities that need them the most,” said Abe Diaz, Amazon’s disaster relief lead. “Hurricane season is now officially underway, and we are ready to continue our work with dozens of community partners to support people facing crises or seeking refuge.”

Since 2017, Amazon says its disaster relief and response efforts have provided over 18 million items in response to 81 natural disasters and humanitarian aid crises around the world. The company has also sent solar-powered lights to people living without power after tsunamis, enabled customers to donate products and cash to relief efforts on its website and helped both governments and nonprofits manage response efforts through Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud services.