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Amazon opens disaster relief hub as hurricane season begins

Amazon's new disaster relief hub is located in Atlanta to position it close to the U.S. Southeast and Caribbean, locations prone to direct hits from hurricanes. Photo courtesy of Amazon
Amazon's new disaster relief hub is located in Atlanta to position it close to the U.S. Southeast and Caribbean, locations prone to direct hits from hurricanes. Photo courtesy of Amazon

June 1 (UPI) -- Amazon said Tuesday it's opened a facility in Atlanta stocked with emergency supplies to be better positioned and prepared to deploy relief for natural disasters.

The announcement comes on the first official day of the Atlantic hurricane season, which experts say could bring up to 20 named storms this year.

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Amazon said the 10,000-cubic-foot fulfillment center in Atlanta contains more than 500,000 emergency supplies, enough to immediately fill a cargo plane to be sent out for disaster relief. The company said it's partnering with 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 in the effort.

Among the supplies. included in the warehouse will be tents, tarps, hygiene items and medical equipment.

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"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, vice president of Global Customer Fulfillment at Amazon. "Our expertise in logistics and operations allows us to be nimble, fast, and effective."

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Amazon said its location about 310 miles from the Gulf Coast will allow it to quickly provide relief to the U.S. Southeast, the Caribbean and Central America.

"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," Trevor Riggen, senior vice president of Disaster Cycle Services at the American Red Cross said.

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The Atlantic hurricane season started early this year, with the formation of Tropical Storm Ana on May 24 -- the seventh straight year a named storm has formed before June 1.

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