Disaster relief routing: Integrating research and practice
Disaster relief presents many unique logistics challenges, with problems including damaged transportation infrastructure, limited communication, and coordination of multiple agents. Central to disaster relief logistics is the distribution of life-saving commodities to beneficiaries. Operations research models have potential to help relief agencies save lives and money, maintain standards of humanitarianism and fairness and maximize the use of limited resources amid post-disaster chaos. Through interviews with aid organizations, reviews of their publications, and a literature review of operations research models in transportation of relief goods, this paper provides an analysis of the use of such models from the perspective of both practitioners and academics. With the complexity of disaster relief distribution and the relatively small number of journal articles written on it, this is an area with potential for helping relief organizations and for tremendous growth in operations research.
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