Technology

Amazon, Red Cross partnering on faster deliveries of disaster relief supplies

Amazon announced Tuesday that it will partner with the American Red Cross and other humanitarian aid organizations and open a disaster relief center to more efficiently deliver emergency supplies throughout hurricane season. 

The multinational tech giant announced in a press release on the first day of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season that it would be opening its first Disaster Relief Hub near Atlanta to house “emergency supplies to help our front-line community partners quickly respond to natural disasters across the southeastern U.S., the Caribbean, and Central America.” 

Amazon said that the center will have the capacity to store more than half a million donated supplies, which it said is “enough to fill an Amazon Air 767 cargo plane and immediately provide critical supplies when a disaster strikes.” 

Alicia Boler Davis, vice president of global customer fulfillment at Amazon, said in a statement Tuesday that the company’s “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,” she added. 

Amazon said that the relief hub will initially partner with the Red Cross, as well as Direct Relief, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Medical Corps, Save the Children and World Central Kitchen.

Trevor Riggen, the American Red Cross’s senior vice president of disaster cycle services, said Tuesday that “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.” 

“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,” Riggen added. “We’re honored to count Amazon as one of our most valued partners and are grateful for their continued support to fulfill our mission.”

Bettina Stix, Amazon’s director of disaster relief, told CNN Tuesday that the relief hub started from a letter sent to Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos. 

“Jeff Bezos actually received a letter from somebody in Louisiana in 2016 when floods hit and said, ‘Amazon is the best at getting stuff into the most remote areas of the United States, how can you help us get supplies here?'” Stix said. 

“That was really the vision I had,” she added. “We can reach even the most rural communities, we have transportation methods to get there.”

The plans come as meteorologists expect another particularly active hurricane season this year. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said that 2021 will be above average, with between six and 10 hurricanes predicted, following last year’s 13 hurricanes.

Tags Amazon American Red Cross Atlantic hurricane season CNN Emergency Relief Humanitarian aid hurricane season International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Jeff Bezos World Central Kitchen

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