Update: Amazon has completed the first of its two Amazon Air flights to the Bahamas. To date, Amazon and its customers donated cash and over 300,000 relief items – a combined worth of $1 million – to Hurricane Dorian relief efforts in the Bahamas and the US. Donated items included clean up kits, personal hygiene products (toothbrushes, toothpaste, wipes), clothing and undergarments, food items, and recovery materials (tarps, ropes, solar lanterns, water supply).
In response to Hurricane Dorian’s devastation of the Bahamas, the Disaster Relief by Amazon team is mobilizing two Amazon Air flights, full of tens of thousands of relief items such as tarps, buckets, and water containers, for upcoming departures.
Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane with winds reaching 185mph, which matched the highest-ever recorded at landfall, and stayed over affected areas for two days. In the country of about 400,000 people, local officials estimate that more than 70,000 are homeless and in need of food, water, and shelter.
Amazon is shipping relief items donated by Amazon and its customers from its fulfillment centers (warehouses) around the country to an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Tampa where they will be packed, transported to the Tampa air gateway, and loaded onto the Amazon Air planes for Nassau. Amazon’s nonprofit partners—the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Mercy Corps, and the Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation—will distribute the supplies to those in need.
"We form relationships with disaster-relief nonprofits, and we ask them, 'What do you need? What’s the challenge or gap?'" says Trang-Thien Tran, principal product manager for Amazon disaster relief. "We look at how we can uniquely help; how can we apply what Amazon has already built for our regular business, but use it for disaster relief? We are able to leverage all of Amazon’s products and services."
In addition, Amazon launched new Wish List campaigns, specifically curated by its nonprofit partners for customers who want to purchase items and support the relief efforts. Customers may also make cash donations, donate supplies directly to nonprofits for the Bahamas and Carolinas, or just say, "Alexa, donate to Hurricane Dorian relief at American Red Cross."
Recently, Amazon fulfilled a request from the Florida State Emergency Response Team and sent products that provide sensory aid and support for displaced individuals who are in unfamiliar and uncomfortable environments. Amazon also provided 60,000 bottles of water to two Florida food banks. In addition, Amazon donated items like mosquito nets, sunscreen, and insect repellent to International Medical Corps to outfit their medical teams supporting communities affected by the storm. Amazon has also hosted cash and Wish List campaigns for customers over the last week.
Through its Disaster Relief by Amazon team, Amazon has supported 10 natural disasters in 2019 so far. And since 2017, Amazon, its employees and customers donated an equivalent of more than $15 million in product and cash for 25 disasters around the world.