Long-term assistance needed in Hawaii

News Story
- 24 Aug 2023 ( #1142 ) - Maui, HI, United States
2 min read

The people of Hawaii are going to need long-term assistance from the materials handling sector after the deadly wildfires there, the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) has warned.

More than 1,000 people remain missing after fire tore through the island of Maui, destroying the town of Lahaina and causing billions of dollars of property damage. More than 100 deaths have been confirmed by authorities.

ALAN has been assisting in disaster relief efforts around the world since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

ALAN executive director Kathy Fulton says when a specific disaster dominates headlines, many businesses are inspired to help immediately. However, the interest and the offers of help soon start to die down.

“And that’s regrettable, because this saga is really only just beginning, especially for the good people of Lahaina,” Fulton says.

“It will take many months and years for Lahaina’s residents to get back to ‘normal’, and they’ll need help from the non-profit and material handling community every step of the way.”

Fulton says materials handling equipment will play a key role in early relief efforts.

“It’s a game-changer for getting supplies loaded, offloaded and distributed to disaster survivors quickly,” she says.

ALAN’s disaster microsite will be updated with requests for assistance as they arise.  

After the early relief efforts comes the clean-up phase, Fulton says, which is this case will be “massive”.

“Numerous non-profits will be there to help, and they’ll need a lot of heavy equipment, including the temporary loan of forklifts and donations of pallet jacks, boxes and other supplies to help ease the job of clearing and hauling away the remains of so many buildings and damaged possessions.   

“It may be many weeks or months before we begin to receive requests to help with this phase.  “Because of this, we’re asking people to consider making a pre-offer of their material handling equipment now so that we can quickly match them with requests when they come in.”   

Fulton says even after the clean-up phase, materials handling equipment will be needed to move sheetrock and insulation and other critical raw materials.  

“This phase can often be the longest – and the toughest to find MHE donors for – because by the time it begins, it’s usually been months or years since people have heard much about relief efforts.  “But we here at ALAN never forget, and we hope members of the MHE community won’t forget either.” 

ALAN’s early response to the Maui wildfires have included supporting the set-up of warehouses in Oahu and Los Angeles to store the “overabundance” of donations that have been received.

The state of Hawaii has provided a 30,000 sqft. (27,870 sqm) warehouse, known as the Maui Relief Storage Facility, near Honolulu Harbor to receive, sort and inventory donations. 

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