As fires on Maui and Big Island of Hawaii continued to burn, the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) announced that it was gearing up to provide both long- and short-term support – and it called on members of the logistics community to be on long-term alert for expanding opportunities to do more of the same.
Effective immediately, the organization has expanded its Disaster Micro-Site to include key details about the fires and their related logistics needs.
ALAN reported that on Aug. 9 the organization received its first request for logistics assistance, which involved the moving of communications equipment to support shelter facilities near Lahaina.
“We are heartbroken and devastated for the residents of both islands, especially those who have lost a loved one, a home or – in the case of Lahaina – most of their hometown,” said ALAN Executive Director Kathy Fulton. “Today we are officially channeling that heartbreak into action.”
Fulton pointed out that much of the need for logistics assistance lies in the future. “Although the need for our supply chain assistance for post-fire relief efforts in Hawaii hasn’t been extensive yet, the operative word is yet, because as Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor said, the full impact of the fires won’t be known for weeks or months.”
As those assessments are made, she said ALAN undoubtedly be receiving more requests, including many that could come in several weeks or months down the road.
Fulton said that’s why she hopes other members of the logistics community will visit the Web page additions to ALAN’s Disaster Micro-Site often to view the latest lists of requests. Members of the industry are also encouraged to consider making a pre-offer of any space, services and equipment they would be willing to donate to assist with the ongoing and future fire relief efforts.
Fulton also echoed a request from many members of the non-profit relief community: Please don’t self-deploy to Maui or Big Island – and refrain from participating in product collection drives.
“Although the intention behind these efforts is good, they often create more challenges than they solve, including getting in the way of rescue efforts. So please don’t add to an already difficult situation,” she stressed.
“If you truly wish to help, send funds. Cash donations allow non-profits to buy what they need, when and where they need it, and that will help survivors faster.”
Fueled, in part by the Pacific Ocean’s Hurricane Dora, which has created strong offshore winds, the fires on Maui have claimed 56 lives and destroyed more than 271 structures, many of which were in the historic town of Lahaina, according to the most recent reports.
“This devastating disaster is a good example of just how unpredictable hurricanes and their impacts can be,” said Fulton.
“However I hope that – like other recent disasters we’ve been working on – it will also serve as an example of just how generous the logistics community can be, because the donated transportation, warehousing, shipping supplies, forklifts and logistics expertise we provide can truly be game-changers and make a considerable difference for disaster survivors.”
Founded in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, ALAN is organized as an industrywide organization that provides free logistics assistance to disaster relief organizations before, during and after catastrophic events.
It does this by bringing the expertise and resources of the logistics industry together with compassionate organizations so that help can arrive sooner, and each relief dollar can be maximized.