Last week, Hurricane Laura made landfall in the United States and wreaked havoc in Texas and Louisiana. Thousands of families are displaced and in desperate need of food and shelter. As always, the National Guard and other response teams rapidly deployed to the affected areas with much-needed resources such as food and water. So, where does the transportation industry fit in?
The Unsung Heroes
Ultimately, logistics can always be boiled down to this: getting the right stuff to the right place at the right time. Simple, right? This principle applies in all scenarios, and a natural disaster is no exception. Relief efforts usually include local and federal government agencies along with humanitarian organizations such as the American Red Cross. But, among the most important responders are truck drivers. Think of the many needs in disaster-stricken communities, such as bottled water, food, and clothing. Truckers are often the ones who get said items to those who need them most.
In addition, natural disasters like this often leave people injured or without proper health care. Getting medical supplies and first-aid resources to these areas is a critical task of supply chain managers during a time of emergency.
Supply chain resources such as warehouse space are also needed to store supplies within reasonable proximity of the affected areas. NBC News estimates as much as $20 billion in damages from Laura. This presents the massive task of rebuilding communities and restocking shelves in a timely manner.
Hurricane Laura also brings the unique challenge of disaster relief in the midst of COVID-19. Responders are learning to balance disaster relief efforts with social distancing and other pandemic practices. In light of this, expect to see PPE (personal protective equipment) such as masks and face shields transported to the affected areas along with traditional medical supplies.
Countless drivers have taken on the challenge of responding to this crisis despite the hurdles of the pandemic and inclement weather. In fact, truckers are often the unsung heroes of disaster relief efforts. Without them, essential supplies like water bottles and food would never make it to people in need. This is why, at Easley, they are more than truckers. They are Road Warriors!
For more information concerning Hurricane Laura, visit the official FEMA website.