Amazon has opened its third Disaster Relief Hub in Australia at its Brisbane Fulfilment Centre, storing more than 27,000 disaster relief items to help our non-profit partners quickly respond to natural disasters in Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
“Australia has experienced more than its fair share of natural disasters over the last few years, from bushfires to floods,” said Mindy Espidio-Garcia, Amazon Australia’s Director of Operations. “As we enter the cyclone season in Queensland and severe weather events become more prevalent and extreme, we’re proud to work with our incredible non-profit partners and leverage our scale and expertise in logistics and operations to provide rapid relief to Queensland communities when its needed most with items they need the most.”
When a natural disaster hits, Amazon Australia’s emergency teams quickly assess what supplies are available and procure additional items if needed. A dedicated team of Amazon volunteers then consolidate, pack and ship supplies to non-profit partners or directly into disaster zones within 24-48 hours.
The process can take multiple days. To quicken that crucial timeframe, Amazon analysed its data from the last few years of disaster support and formed a pre-positioning strategy. The strategy is tailored to the most common relief supplies needed by our non-profit partners to do their lifesaving work. Those supplies include tarps, tents, sleeping bags, and essentials like toothbrushes, nappies and sanitary items. Wherever possible, Amazon Australia sources these items from our small and medium business (SMB) sellers like Little Urchin, Beauty and the Bees, Bunji and Zenify.
Amazon Australia currently works with non-profit partners including Foodbank, St Vincent de Paul Society and the Australian Red Cross.
Joan Pease MP, Member for Lytton, acknowledged the value of collaboration between charity partners, SMBs and Amazon Australia staff and volunteers at the opening of the new Brisbane Disaster Relief Hub. “Having a hub like this ready to support our local community is so important as it enables people to get the things they need across Queensland, which is one of the most disaster-prone states in the country.”
The launch of a Disaster Relief Hub in Brisbane adds capacity to the Hubs launched in Sydney (BWU2) and Melbourne (MEL5) in 2021, expanding the potential coverage of relief items to more communities.
“This initiative makes a huge difference because of the way we are able to look forward and plan for disasters. Initiatives like this go a long way to prepare for when disasters inevitably happen,” said Bob McMillan, Food Supply Manager at Foodbank Queensland.
Backed by Amazon Australia volunteers
The support of Amazon Australia volunteers is key to getting disaster relief kits packed and ready ahead of time.
Mickey, an Amazon Australia volunteer who has been involved with the program from the beginning, said, “The amount of people willing to get involved, from all different parts of Amazon, has been amazing to see.”
Another volunteer, Nick, said, “Hearing stories from our charity partners about the scale of impact we can have is really special. These are people who may be going through the worst period of their life, and to know that you might help to put a smile on even one person’s face is incredibly rewarding.”
Delivering where it's needed most
Since 2020, Amazon Australia has sourced and dispatched more than 520,000 relief items and supported our non-profit partners through 10 disasters including bushfires, floods and COVID outbreaks. During the 2022 flood crisis that devastated the east coast of Australia, Amazon dispatched more than 50,000 relief items packed in individual kits by volunteers through its Sydney and Melbourne Hubs.
In September, Amazon Australia officially joined the ‘Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief Collective’, a cross-sector think tank of corporate partners led by the Red Cross to enhance preparedness, response and recovery efforts in Australia.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) also supports affected local councils and businesses with the offer of product donations, and technology solutions such as AWS call centre support, guidance to assist with IT infrastructure scaling, and assistance with connectivity issues while primary IT infrastructure is being repaired or rebuilt.
The initiative is part of Amazon’s established global disaster relief and response program, which has sourced and dispatched more than 18.3 million relief items to support communities impacted by more than 82 natural disasters around the world since 2017. Amazon's disaster relief and response efforts leverage Amazon's vast operational excellence, innovative technologies, and global logistics network to provide fast and effective support to worldwide operations fighting large-scale natural disasters.