Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) said Sept. 9 that its airline unit will operate two cargo flights as early as next week bound for areas of the Bahamas devastated by Hurricane Dorian.
Two aircraft will be deployed, with each operating one flight from Tampa, FL, to Nassau, Amazon said. Supplies are being shipped from Amazon’s fulfillment centers nationwide to a fulfillment center in Tampa. There the items will be packed and palletized for the flights to the Bahamas. The specific departure dates and the aircraft types have not been determined, an Amazon spokesperson said.
The aircraft will contain thousands of relief items, including tarps, buckets and water containers. Amazon has also launched a “wish list” program in which its customers can shop for essential items that appear on a list created by its nonprofit partners. Those items will go aboard the relief planes, Amazon said. The deadline for buying the listed supplies is Sept. 13.
Donations of cash as well as donations made directly to the International Federation of Red Cross and other organizations will be accepted, Amazon said.
In a related development, the UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of UPS Inc. (NYSE:UPS), said Sept. 9 that it will donate $1 million to Dorian relief efforts. The UPS unit added that it has activated its disaster relief network, which brings in multiple nonprofit organizations tasked with organizing relief efforts.
On Sept. 7, a UPS aircraft delivered nearly 20 metric tons of supplies, which included shelter, hygiene and water purification systems provided by UNICEF, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Dorian hit the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane with winds reaching 185 mph, which matched the highest ever recorded at landfall. The hurricane remained over affected areas for two days. The Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama were particularly hard hit, with video footage showing total obliteration of portions of the islands and large areas completely submerged by floodwater.
About 70,000 people, or 17% of the country’s total populace, are believed to be homeless and also in need of food and water. Rescue and recovery efforts have been hampered due to high floodwaters and serious damage to the local infrastructure.