How AWS is Supporting Nonprofits, Governments, and Communities Impacted by Hurricane Ida

Picture of a man in a blue shirt running cable through a wall.

AWS Disaster Response Team volunteer Paul Fries operates cable to provide connection at a police station that has been converted into a supply distribution center and housing for National Guard troops and FEMA.

During the crisis that has resulted in the wake of Hurricane Ida, the AWS Disaster Response Team is making staff and resources available to support our customers, including the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC), St. Bernard Parish Government and Crisis Cleanup.

In 2018, Amazon Web Services launched the AWS Disaster Response Program to support governments and nonprofits actively responding to natural disasters. Driven by the belief that technology has the power to solve the world’s most pressing issues, the AWS Disaster Response Team has worked around the clock to provide pro bono assistance to public organizations responding to Hurricane Ida’s extensive damage.

The team brings in technical expertise in the form of solutions, architects, machine learning practitioners, edge computing experts and others across AWS. This enables AWS to support disaster response organizations and help them overcome the unique challenges they face.

Establishing connection

When Hurricane Ida hit the United States on August 29, 2021, it caused power outages and major disruptions to water, power, mobile, and commercial communications infrastructures. In the South, many were left homeless or without electricity, gas or water by Ida’s winds and floods. In New York and New Jersey, hundreds of thousands of people lost power. The AWS Disaster Response team activated its response protocol, including on-site technical voluntary support and non-profit financial assistance to disaster relief ITDRC for its efforts to establish local internet connection and mobile phone charging stations. This critical support – including nearly 100 sites in New Orleans, Houma, and other high-impact areas of Louisiana – enables public safety agencies, responsive relief organizations, social services, and community members to communicate and coordinate when responding to and recovering from Ida.

Increased capacity

AWS volunteers supported disaster relief nonprofit Crisis Cleanup by offering technical AWS service architecture guidance that enabled them to increase their capacity to provide recall to community members who requested assistance with tasks such as felling trees and taking pressure that were damaged by the storm. AWS volunteers also help crisis cleanup by making recalls and strengthening their volunteer base to reach a larger number of people faster than would otherwise have been possible.

Building robustness

To support St. The Bernard Parish government, located just outside of New Orleans, helped AWS implement Amazon WorkMail to facilitate more resilient cross-team communication as their email server went offline when the power went out. Using Amazon WorkMail helped enable government staff to communicate more efficiently by using the cloud instead of traditional infrastructures.

The AWS Disaster Response Team continues to send requests for support after Hurricane Ida and also works with other organizations to support their resilience planning and disaster preparedness.

Learn more

Check out the AWS Disaster Response page for more information. To donate cash and supplies to organizations like Feeding America and Save the Children, visit the Amazon page on Hurricane Ida or just say, “Alexa, I want to donate to Hurricane Ida Relief.”

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