“How do we get Logistics to play a more efficient role in disaster relief, getting the right product, in the right quantity, to the right place, at the right time, and at the right price?”
Our world has witnessed many more hurricanes, storms and tsunamis than ever before. What are the steps we must take to reduce the impact of these natural phenomena on our lives? What can we do to be ready?
Logistics plays a critical role in disaster relief. Getting the “right product, in the right quantity, to the right place, at the right time, and at the right price” takes on new meaning when roads, airports, bridges, and other logistics infrastructure are severely damaged or destroyed.
The immediate spike in demand for food, water, clothing and medical supplies is an order of magnitude greater than most supply chains are equipped to handle. In short, disaster relief is a unique, specialized type of supply chain and logistics problem.
Did you know that 91,000 tons of ice bought to cool food, medicine and sweltering victims of Hurricane Katrina cost American taxpayers more than USD 100 million, and most of it was never delivered? Notwithstanding the waste of financial resources that could have been used to cover other urgent needs of those impacted by the storm, scores of truck drivers were sent on circuitous routes over several weeks while burning fuel around the clock to keep the ice frozen.
Every sudden-onset disaster causes logistics problems. The tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, flood, droughts, etc., all depend on logistics as the main limiting factor for aid. At the time of a disaster, an accurate assessment of needs as well as readily available resources and distribution channels is extremely difficult.