Disaster preparedness in humanitarian logistics: A collaborative approach for resource management in floods

Oscar Rodriguez-Espindola*, Pavel Albores, Christopher Brewster

*Corresponding author for this work

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The logistical deployment of resources to provide relief to disaster victims and the appropriate planning of these activities are critical to reduce the suffering caused. Disaster management attracts many organisations working alongside each other and sharing resources to cope with an emergency. Consequently, successful operations rely heavily on the collaboration of different organisations. Despite this, there is little research considering the appropriate management of resources from multiple organisations, and none optimising the number of actors required to avoid shortages or convergence.

This research introduces a disaster preparedness system based on a combination of multi-objective optimisation and geographical information systems to aid multi-organisational decision-making. A cartographic model is used to avoid the selection of floodable facilities, informing a bi-objective optimisation model used to determine the location of emergency facilities, stock prepositioning, resource allocation and relief distribution, along with the number of actors required to perform these activities.

The real conditions of the flood of 2013 in Acapulco, Mexico, provided evidence of the inability of any single organisation to cope with the situation independently. Moreover, data collected showed the unavailability of enough resources to manage a disaster of that magnitude at the time. The results highlighted that the number of government organisations deployed to handle the situation was excessive, leading to high cost without achieving the best possible level of satisfaction. The system proposed showed the potential to achieve better performance in terms of cost and level of service than the approach currently employed by the authorities. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)978-993
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event27th European Conference on Operational Research (EURO) - University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Jul 201515 Jul 2015


  • Humanitarian logistics
  • Multiple objective programming
  • OR in disaster relief
  • Disaster preparedness


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