Amazon opens disaster relief hub in Germany

US tech company Amazon opened a disaster relief hub in Rheinberg, Germany, on Wednesday. The hub stores supplies that can be distributed to non-profit organisations in the event of an emergency.

The warehouse in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, near the Dutch and Belgian borders, is Amazon's first disaster relief hub in Europe.

The 2,000-square-metre warehouse holds 1,000 pallets of supplies, enough to fill 20 Boeing 737s, said Bettina Stix, Amazon's head of disaster relief. The hub does not store food, but does stock items such as tents, sleeping bags, blankets, hygiene kits, rubber boots and gloves.

The Rheinberg warehouse is Amazon's first in Europe, but its 13th globally. It has six in Australia, one in the US, two in Japan and three in India.

Amazon has been involved in earthquake, forest fire and flood relief since 2017. In seven years, the company has donated 24 million items in response to 145 disasters. The supplies stored in Germany can be distributed during disasters in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

The warehouse is 80km from the Belgian border, which Stix says is an advantage. "If the Belgian Red Cross sends us a list of items they want from our hubs, it will take us just hours to get them out of the door, and then the usual time it takes the truck to get to the place where the help is needed," she said.


© BELGA PHOTO MAARTEN WEYNANTS / Bettina Stix, head of disaster relief at Amazon © BELGA VIDEO MAARTEN WEYNANTS

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