The first weekend of August saw widespread flooding in southern Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. The provinces of Carinthia and Styria were hit hard by storms with torrential rain, mudslides, and rising rivers. Debris flows and landslides swept away entire houses. In Slovenia, the heavy rains caused catastrophic damage: roads were under water, entire villages were flooded, bridges collapsed, and energy infrastructure was severely damaged. Thousands of people have had to leave their homes and seek accommodation in emergency shelters.
Aid organizations such as the Red Cross and volunteers are working to supply people with drinking water, clearing roads to make them useful again, clean up slopes, pump out cellars, coordinate emergency shelters for those affected, and provide psychological support.
Volunteer fire department: Support in the event of a disaster
One of the volunteers is Marko, who has been working at the Amazon distribution centre in Klagenfurt since it opened in 2022. 30 years ago, at the age of eight, the native Slovenian joined the volunteer fire department in his home village of Lom pod Storžičem. For the past 20 years, he has been operationally active as a volunteer firefighter, and in that time he has already participated in a number of disaster operations. This commitment takes time, investment in training, and ongoing drills. "But it's worth it, because with what I've learned over the years, I can help people when they need it most," Marko says. He’s not the only one with the positive attitude: similar to Austria, 99% of the members of the Slovenian fire department are volunteers. Their commitment is a great support, especially in the event of a disaster. "For 110 years, the volunteer fire department has been an important part of our village community and I am proud to be a part of it,” Marko says. I am also all the more grateful that I have found an employer in Amazon that actively supports this commitment. It's not a given at other companies that you can do turns at the volunteer fire department during working hours."
"If I can help out, I’ll help 100%. That's how I grew up and I'm grateful to have an employer that supports this commitment."
Currently, Marko is on call for the next assignment. "When I came back from my last assignment, there was a lot of sympathy: colleagues and supervisors came up to me and asked me if I was okay, if I needed anything. My manager offered that I could take time off at any time if I was needed again for a follow-up assignment. That support and recognition has been incredible."
Amazon Austria puts together aid package for flood victims
The Amazon distribution centre in Klagenfurt, where Marko is employed, is located in one of the five Carinthian districts hit by the floods. Like many of her colleagues, Miriam Enzi, Regional Manager of Amazon Logistics in Austria, has local roots here: "The floods hit us all deeply. That's why it was clear for us to become active here as a regional employer and help as best we can,” Miriam says. “We put together a series of relief measures at short notice to support those affected.”
"We are currently working closely with local NGOs and civil protection to provide our relief efforts - especially in-kind donations - in the most targeted way possible."
A monetary donation of 35,000 EUR will go to the Austrian Red Cross and its partner organisation, the Slovenian Red Cross. The Austrian Red Cross is using the donation for the "Austria helps Austria" aid for those whose houses and apartments were destroyed or damaged by the floods. In addition to financial resources, Amazon is donating goods needed for clean-up work.
"The devastating floods in southern Austria, Slovenia and Croatia have once again shown how important it is to help people in emergency situations quickly and unbureaucratically across national borders. All of this is only possible thanks to the support of numerous volunteers, private donations and dedicated companies like Amazon, who make such missions possible with generous donations of money and goods."
In addition to the direct relief measures, Amazon has launched a Europe-wide appeal for donations among its 150,000 EU-based Amazon employees to draw attention to the situation in the affected regions.
Fast help in an emergency: Amazon Disaster Relief
Every year, people around the world are affected by natural disasters - whether hurricanes in the USA, the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, or the current floods in Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia. Amazon's goal is to provide rapid assistance to the affected communities in an emergency. Amazon had already launched a flood relief programme in Germany in 2021 to support flooded regions, donating financial resources amounting to 1 million EUR and providing urgently needed relief goods and logistics support.
More information about Amazon's commitment to disaster relief can be found here.