Amazon Australia brings relief closer with newest Perth Disaster Relief Hub

Mindy Espidio-Garcia, Director of Operations at Amazon Australia
Mindy Espidio-Garcia, Director of Operations at Amazon Australia

Amazon Australia has opened its newest Disaster Relief Hub in Perth, providing a permanent store of essential supplies that can be delivered quickly and efficiently to those affected by natural disasters in Western Australia. The new Perth Disaster Relief Hub is the fourth in a network that spans the country, with other hubs in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. 

What is an Amazon Disaster Relief Hub?

Disaster Relief Hubs are a signature part of Amazon Australia’s local community relief efforts. Since the devastating 2019-20 bushfires, Amazon Australia has dispatched over 545,000 relief items and supported our nonprofit partners through 12 disasters including bushfires, floods and COVID outbreaks. During the 2022 flood crisis, Amazon dispatched over 50,000 relief items packed in individual kits by volunteers through its Sydney and Melbourne Hubs.

Amazon Web Services also supports affected local councils and businesses with 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 Disaster Relief Hubs initiative is part of Amazon’s established global disaster relief and response program, which has sourced and dispatched more than 20 million relief items to support communities impacted by more than 95 natural disasters around the world, including recently the earthquake disaster and wildfires in Türkiye, and floods in Western Europe.

What does the Perth Hub mean for region?

It will enable Amazon to work with its non-profit partners including Foodbank, Australian Red Cross and St Vincent de Paul Society to deliver critical items where and when they are needed. The Perth Disaster Relief Hub will store more than 15,000 relief items including more than 1,300 personal hygiene kits packed with essential products along with other critical items such as tarps, sleeping bags, mosquito repellent, clean up items and first aid kits.

These items have been sourced and purchased by Amazon from its Australian small and medium business sellers. Given the vast size of the state and relative isolation of many Western Australian communities, Amazon aims to use its logistics and data expertise and the knowledge and needs of its partners to support affected communities within 24-48 hours.

By pre-positioning these items locally, the new Perth Disaster Relief Hub will help alleviate the tyranny and frustration of distance and challenge of needing to bring in critical supplies from outside the state to help those who have been impacted by extreme weather events.

As at Amazon’s other Disaster Relief Hubs, if a natural disaster hits, Amazon Australia’s emergency teams quickly assess what supplies are needed, and then teams of volunteers will consolidate, pack and ship supplies to non-profit partners or directly into disaster zones.

Once critical items have been dispatched, Amazon Australia works with partners to determine if any further supplies are needed from Amazon’s selection, which can then be delivered. Western Australia’s extensive coastline, dry climate and arid interior puts the state at risk of a range of devastating natural disasters all year round, including cyclones, bushfires, and floods.

With 90% of the state bushfire prone and an increasing flood risk, as evidenced by the recent devastation in the Kimberley region, the new Amazon Australia Perth Disaster Relief Hub will provide Western Australians with a new level of preparedness for when disaster strikes.

What does the hub mean for Amazon Australia?

Mindy Espidio-Garcia, Amazon Australia’s Director of Operations, said: Western Australia experiences more than its share of natural disasters, from bushfires to cyclones and floods.”

“When disaster strikes, quick action is essential and this new hub will enable us to mobilise our logistics and data expertise, together with the on-ground knowledge of our partners, to deliver essential items to those in need with greater speed and efficiency,”  Mindy said.

“We know a thing or two about logistics at Amazon, and we’re really proud to bring this expertise and expand our Australian disaster relief hubs to Western Australia, which will enable us to offer local communities the assistance they need in a much more timely manner.” 

“None of this would be possible without the help of our team of fantastic volunteers from Amazon Australia who are prepared to jump in at a moment’s notice to help pack and distribute critical items to get them to those in need in local communities across Australia. To them, I offer my sincerest gratitude and thanks,” Mindy Espidio-Garcia further commented.

What does the hub mean for Amazon relief partners?

Cassie Rowe MLA, Member for Belmont, WA, said: “It’s great to have Amazon Australia launch its first Disaster Relief Hub in Western Australia, and there’s no better place for it to be situated than right here in Kewdale. With its proximity to Perth Airport, highways, and major freight and warehouse distribution partners, Kewdale is the perfect location for this hub.”

“Western Australia sees its fair share of natural disasters and this hub will provide non-for-profit charity partners with an excellent opportunity to support vulnerable communities when in need. I’m proud to be here today with Amazon launching this fantastic initiative.”

Kate O’Hara, Chief Executive Officer at Foodbank Western Australia

Kate O’Hara, Chief Executive Officer, Foodbank Western Australia, said: “Our disaster relief services at Foodbank are continually in demand, and this year we saw devastating impacts from floods across the Kimberley, with many remote communities cut off for weeks.”

“We are proud to be able to partner with Amazon Australia in this new Disaster Relief Hub here in Perth so we can provide those Western Australian communities in need with essential non-perishable food and groceries that can help them through the critical weeks after disaster strikes and beyond, as people try to rebuild their lives,” Kate O’Hara said.

Andrew York, WA Executive Manager of Community Engagement Services, St Vincent de Paul Society, said: “The St Vincent de Paul Society is grateful for the support that Amazon Australia has provided through its hubs and this new centre means that Amazon and first-responders like the Red Cross can provide communities with vital supplies much quicker.”

“That allows us to do what we do best – supporting communities in recovery by helping them with everyday essentials like food, water, clothing, and more,” Andrew York said.

Chris Walsh, State Lead for Recovery and Resilience, Australian Red Cross, said: “Australian Red Cross is here for Australians when they need us, in the past year alone Red Cross provided support to more than 131,000 Australians through 42 emergency activations.”

“Having a dedicated Disaster Relief Hub here in Perth in partnership with Amazon Australia means that we will be able to leverage the logistics and data expertise of Amazon and deliver greater support to more West Australians when they need it. Often it’s those first few days, when people need help most, that is exactly what this new facility is designed to deliver.”