Humanitarian response: Improving logistics to save lives

Jessica McCoy, MS

Abstract


Each year, millions of people worldwide are affected by disasters, underscoring the importance of effective relief efforts. Many highly visible disaster responses have been inefficient and ineffective. Humanitarian agencies typically play a key role in disaster response (eg, procuring and distributing relief items to an affected population, assisting with evacuation, providing healthcare, assisting in the development of longterm shelter), and thus their efficiency is critical for a successful disaster response. The field of disaster and emergency response modeling is well established, but the application of such techniques to humanitarian logistics is relatively recent. This article surveys models of humanitarian response logistics and identifies promising opportunities for future work. Existing models analyze a variety of preparation and response decisions (eg, warehouse location and the distribution of relief supplies), consider both natural and manmade disasters, and typically seek to minimize cost or unmet demand. Opportunities to enhance the logistics of humanitarian response include the adaptation of models developed for general disaster response; the use of existing models, techniques, and insights from the literature on commercial supply chain management; the development of working partnerships between humanitarian aid organizations and private companies with expertise in logistics; and the consideration of behavioral factors relevant to a response. Implementable, realistic models that support the logistics of humanitarian relief can improve the preparation for and the response to disasters, which in turn can save lives.

Keywords


disasters, disaster planning, relief work, transportation, supply and distribution

Full Text:

PDF

References


World Disasters Report: Focus on HIV and AIDS. Geneva: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 2008.

Thomas A, Kopczak LR: Life-saving supply chains: Challenges and the path forward. In Lee HL, Lee CY (eds.): Building Supply Chain Excellence in Emerging Economies. New York: Springer Science, 2007.

Cooper H, Shanker T: U.S. frustrated by Myanmar military junta’s limits on aid in wake of cyclone. The New York Times. May 17, 2008: 5, Section A, Column 0.

Strom S: From foreign experts who helped, poor marks for Red Cross’s hurricane efforts. The New York Times. April 5, 2006: 16, Section A, Column 1.

Lipton E: “Breathtaking” waste and fraud in Hurricane aid. The New York Times. June 27, 2006: 1, Section A, Column 2.

van Wassenhove LN: Humanitarian aid logistics: Supply chain management in high gear. J Oper Res Soc. 2006; 57(5): 475-489.

Kaatrud DB, Samii R, van Wassenhove LN: UN Joint Logistics Centre: A coordinated response to common humanitarian logistics concerns. Forced Migration Rev. 2003; 18: 11-14.

Thomas A, Mizushima M: Logistics training: Necessity or luxury? Forced Migration Rev. 2005; 22: 60-61.

Strom S: After storm, relief groups consider more work in U.S. The New York Times. January 1, 2006: 14, Section 1, Column 1.

Bookstein A: Beyond the Headlines: An Agenda for Action to Protect Civilians in Neglected Conflicts. Oxfam, Great Britain: Oxfam International, 2003.

Munslow B, Brown C: Complex emergencies: The institutional impasse. Third World Q. 1999; 20(1): 207-222.

Guha-Sapir D, Lechat MF: Information systems and needs assessment in natural disasters: An approach for better disaster relief management. Disasters. 1986; 10(3): 232-237.

Zhang D, Zhou L, Nunamaker JFJ: A knowledge management framework for the support of decision making in humanitarian assistance/disaster relief. Knowl Inform Sys. 2002; 4(3): 370-385.

Autier P, Férir MC, Hairapetian A, et al.: Drug supply in the aftermath of the 1988 Armenian earthquake. Lancet. 1990; 335: 1388-1390.

Tomasini RM, van Wassenhove LN: Genetically Modified Food Donations and the Cost of Neutrality: Logistics Response to the 2002 Food Crisis in Southern Africa. Fontainebleau, France: INSEAD, 2004.

Lessons from the Tsunami: Top Line Findings. Fritz Institute. Available at www.fritzinstitute.org/PDFs/Programs/Findings_ Sept2605.pdf. Accessed August 19, 2008.

Recipient Perceptions of Aid Effectiveness: Rescue, Relief and Rehabilitation in Tsunami Affected Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka. Fritz Institute. Available at www.fritzinstitute.org/PDFs/findings/ NineMonthReport.pdf. Accessed August 19, 2008.

Samii R, van Wassenhove LN: Choreographer of Disaster Management: Preparing for Tomorrow’s Disaster. Fontainebleau, France:INSEAD, 2002.

Tomasini RM, van Wassenhove LN: Coordinating Disaster Logistics after El Salvador’s Earthquakes. Fontainebleau, France: INSEAD, 2003.

Samii R, van Wassenhove LN: Choreographer of Disaster Management: The Gujarat Earthquake. Fontainebleau, France: INSEAD, 2002.

Oloruntoba R, Gray R: Humanitarian aid: An agile supply chain? Supply Chain Manag. 2006; 11(2): 115-120.

Beamon BM: Humanitarian relief chains: Issues and challenges. 34th International Conference on Computers and Industrial Engineering, San Francisco, CA, 2004.

Hillier FS, Lieberman GJ: Introduction to Operations Research, 8th ed. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2005.

Balcik B, Beamon BM: Facility location in humanitarian relief. Int J Logist. 2008; 11(3): 101-121.

Lodree EJJ, Taskin S: Supply chain planning for hurricane response with wind speed information updates. Comput Oper Res. 2009; 36(1): 2-15.

Rawls CG, Turnquist MA: Pre-positioning of emergency supplies for disaster response. Paper presented at: IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, New York, NY, 2006.

De Angelis V, Mecoli M, Nikoi C, Storchi G: Multiperiod integrated routing and scheduling of World Food Programme cargo planes in Angola. Comput Oper Res. 2007; 34(6): 1601-1615.

Haghani A, Oh SC: Formulation and solution of a multi-commodity, multi-modal network flow model for disaster relief operations. Transport Res Pol Pract. 1996; 30(3): 231-250.

Oh SC, Haghani A:Testing and evaluation of a multi-commodity multi-modal network flow model for disaster relief management. J Adv Transport. 1997; 31(3) :249-282.

Özdamar L, Ekinci E, Küçükyazici B: Emergency logistics planning in natural disasters. Ann Oper Res. 2004; 129: 217-245.

Barbarosog˘ lu G, Arda Y: A two-stage stochastic programming framework for transportation planning in disaster response. J Oper Res Soc. 2004; 55(1): 43-53.

Balcik B, Beamon BM, Smilowitz K: Last mile distribution in humanitarian relief. J Intell Transport Sys. 2008; 12(2): 51-63.

Yi W, Özdamar L: A dynamic logistics coordination model for evacuation and support in disaster response activities. Eur J Oper Res. 2007; 179(3): 1177-1193.

Beamon BM,Kotleba SA: Inventory modelling for complex emergencies in humanitarian relief operations. Int J Logist Res Applicat. 2006; 9(1): 1-18.

Beamon BM, Kotleba SA: Inventory management support systems for emergency humanitarian relief operations in South Sudan. Int J Logist Manag. 2006; 17(2): 187-212.

Morris C: Turkey remembers 1999 earthquake. BBC News. February 2, 2001.

Jani A, Fierro M, Kiser S, et al.: Hurricane Isabel-related mortality—Virginia, 2003. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2006; 12(1): 97-102.

Ragan P, Schulte J, Nelson SJ, et al.: Mortality surveillance: 2004 to 2005 Florida Hurricane-related deaths. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2008; 29(2): 148-153.

Are You Ready for a Hurricane? Here’s What you Can do to Prepare for Such an Emergency. American Red Cross, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1998.

Brandeau ML, McCoy JH, Hupert N, et al.: Recommendations for Modeling Disaster Responses in Public Health and Medicine. Medical Decision Making, in press.

Dekle J, Lavieri MS, Martin E, et al.: A Florida County locates disaster recovery centers. Interfaces. 2005; 35(2): 133-139.

Christie PMJ, Levary RR: The use of simulation in planning the transportation of patients to hospitals following a disaster. J Med Syst. 1998; 22(5): 289-300.

Barbarosog˘ lu G, Özdamar L, Çevik A: An interactive approach for hierarchical analysis of helicopter logistics in disaster relief operations. Eur J Oper Res. 2002; 140(1): 118-133.

Fiedrich F, Gehbauer F, Rickers U: Optimized resource allocation for emergency response after earthquake disasters. Safe Sci. 2000; 35(1-3): 41-57.

Tayur S, Ganeshan R, Magazine M: Quantitative Models for Supply Chain Management. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1998.

Gustavsson L: Humanitarian logistics: Context and challenges. Forced Migration Rev. 2003; 18: 6-8.

Thomas A, Fritz L. Disaster relief, Inc. Harv Bus Rev. 2006; 84(11): 114-122.

Tomasini RM, van Wassenhove LN. Moving the World: The TPGWFP Partnership I - Looking for a Partner. Fontainebleau, France: INSEAD, 2004.

Fritz Institute: (Fritz Institute Website.) Available at www.fritzinstitute.org. Accessed August 19, 2008.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/ajdm.2008.0035

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.