The American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) has leapt into action in the wake of the devastating wildfires in Hawaii that claimed more than 100 lives and destroyed vast areas of Maui.
ALAN, founded in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, has already helped fulfill a request for assistance in moving communications equipment to support shelter facilities near Lahaina, where the wildfires caused the worst damage.
The philanthropic organisation been named the official coordinator for the Hawaii Voluntary Organisations Active in Disaster (Hawaii VOAD) Logistics Workgroup.
It’s calling on the logistics community to be on alert long-term for opportunities to help.
Hawaii lieutenant governor Sylvia Luke is facilitating essential relief for Maui residents, including organising a new donation storage and sorting centre at a state-owned warehouse near Kahului International Airport.
ALAN executive director Kathy Fulton says: “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 assessments are made, we’ll undoubtedly be getting more requests, including many that could come in several weeks or months down the road.”
ALAN will post requests for logistics assistance on its disaster micro-site, which has already been updated with fire-related logistics needs.
Fulton said businesses, associations and organisations could also make pre-offers of assistance for space, services and equipment they’d be willing to donate to assist with fire relief efforts through ALAN’s website.
“We also want to reiterate 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. 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.”
In coordination with its non-profit and industry partners ALAN has begun identifying staging areas for relief aid as specific needs emerge in the coming weeks, as well as developing best practice for shipping to and moving relief materials around Maui.
As it has done for previous disasters, ALAN will also focus on connecting non-profits aiding relief efforts with logistics providers willing to donate logistics services and goods.
Fulton says the wildfires show how unpredictable some disasters and their impacts can be.
“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.”
Toyota Materials Handling spokesperson Justin Albers says the company stands ready to provide assistance to those affected by the wildfires.
“We will work with the American Red Cross and our North American dealer network to support with disaster relief efforts in any way that we can,” Albers says.
While Toyota does not have any dealers in Hawaii, the company’s Hawaii distributor, Servco Forklift and Industrial Equipment, has provided an encouraging update.
“We have confirmed, based on the latest update, that Servco’s operations continue to function without disruption from the wildfires,” he says.
“We are happy to report that both their dedicated employees and their families are secure and unharmed at this time.”