LX 2918 University of New Haven Managing Humanitarian Logistics Discussion

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Review the Transportation Research News Report, August 2013. (Found in Course Documents).

This is a long document that you can review later, but focus on pages 11-17 addressing Humanitarian Relief and Broken Supply Chains. There are 7 key topics in this section. ?

Pick one area and briefly explain its impact- positive or negative- as it relates to relief and supply chains. If you can find a disaster to support your position, that would be great.?

here t2 different answers just paprahrase from them

Answer 1 #

When it comes to humanitarian logistics, achieving best practices continues to be a challenge. Humanitarian supply chains lag behind the private sector in technology implementation, best practices, and operating efficiency (Menzies & Helferich, 2013). Due to the lack of overall funding, and humanitarian logistics decision makers not recognizing newly introduced tools and approaches, achieving best practices continues to impact relief and supply chains. In comparison to commercial networks that are profit motivated, humanitarian networks provide essential services to disaster-affected individuals. As a result, the supply chains of commercial networks which focus on cost-effective measures, such as automation, streamlining, outsourcing, performance measurements, and so forth, outperform their counterpart in humanitarian networks.

Implementing technological advances, such has blockchain technology can have a positive impact on relief efforts and supply chains. Blockchain could speed supply procurement, better coordinate transportation and improve recordkeeping (Guillot, 2018). The devastating effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and the 2010 Haiti earthquake were logistical nightmares. Getting food, water, and other supplies to the storm-ravaged areas required coordination and logistical planning. Unfortunately, the lack of organization, coordination between government agencies and contractors created a chaotic environment.

Blockchain, a record-keeping mechanism that makes it easier and safer for businesses to work together over the internet can be utilized by humanitarian logistics to achieve best practices. As a distributed database that holds tamper-resistant records of digital data or events that several users may concurrently access, inspect, or add to, it provides a transparent system that can easily track all types of transactions within the supply chain. The original information stays put, leaving a permanent and public information trail, or chain of transactions (Vorabutra, 2016). This function is advantageous to disaster management for record keeping and review purposes.

In 2005, the U.S. government’s failure to prepare and respond to Katrina’s destruction was incessantly criticized. With blockchain technology, in preparation for hurricanes, humanitarian logistics can utilize the system and match disaster locations with appropriate vendors for relief chains. Once the disaster strikes, smart contracts (digital contracts) would automatically trigger orders and initiate the supply chain. Electronic devices that track warehouse freights to the truck’s final destination provides transparency and efficiency (Guillot, 2018).

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 is considered one of the direst humanitarian catastrophes of all time. Within 24 hours, more than 20 nations and non-governmental organizations were on the move to provide disaster relief that ranged from recovery operations and medical support to distribution of food and water. However, due to the absences of a common communication channel and the use of too many unstructured data sources, such as email and social media, it hindered collaboration and efficiency. With the usage of blockchain technology, the UN, national humanitarian aid, NGOs, and other organizations would be able to connect via a distributed network. This results in (1) distributed power – where all parties are equally entitled and can continue to use their resource planning system, (2) partner interoperability – the blockchain provides a single source of truth for all operations that are updated in real time (every part can access the transaction history), (3) ad hoc capabilities – parties can join or leave the network at any time, and (4) privacy – parties keep their data sovereignty and don’t have to expose their resource capacities to other participants (Rohr, 2017).

“Although advances in humanitarian logistics cannot be achieved by adopting the best commercial practices” (Menzies & Helferich, 2013), achieving best practices through collaboration and the utilization of standardized technology can have a positive impact. The use of blockchain technology is just one example that can expedite disaster relief.

Answer #2

It is evident during the event of supplying critical goods required to assist those who are affected by disasters; there are a lot of challenges that face the delivery. When the goods and services are not delivered at the right time in the scenes that leads to failure in effective response of the disaster. The humanitarian logistics require proper planning for the mitigation, detection, response, and recovery in a disaster. The logistics are known to account for 60% to 80 % of expenditure. It is evident that all those involved in the relief operation are connected by relatively fragile supply chains.

There are challenging facing with the supply chain of humanitarian relief. One challenge is to create a flexible and adaptive supply chain in the upcoming uncertain world. The supply networks are known to be more complex and vulnerable. There has also been an acceleration of rate in the advancement of the technology that has introduced unprecedented and unanticipated opportunities to interfere with human life. Another challenge is the issue of global power shifts and conflicts that generate new threats to humanitarian logistics (James, 2017). Such issues have raised more weaknesses in the humanitarian supply chain such. There are also various challenges being faced by organizations that are inadequate finances, ambiguous objectives, limited resources, high uncertainty, extreme urgency and political boundaries.

The business best practices are also experiencing changes. Those changes are causing hardship to the commercial supply chains. Most of the organization develop plans to protect themselves against low impact and recurrent risks and fail to plan on high impact low likelihood risks. The commercial supply chains are the ones used by humanitarian organizations, and they end up failing them terribly (Santos & Howard, 2017). The commercials supply chain fail to recognize the high impacts that are caused by low likelihood risks. Such risks need to be realized by the commercial suppliers for them to be held accountable in case they fail in their operation of supplying the goods and services required by the humanitarian organizations.

It is essential to understand there must be plans set to counter the adverse effects brought by those challenges in the supply of goods and services. There are steps to be followed when the humanitarian logistics have to be accomplished. The humanitarian logistic relief engages in five phases that are planning, mitigation, detection, response, and recovery (James, 2017). There are steps for each phase. In the planning, there is the implementation of the relief plan. During mitigation, there is the establishment of a continuous improvement process.

An example of a disaster that has recently occurred in the United States is the hurricane that occurred on October 2, 2017. The hurricane happened in Florida and Puerto Rico that claimed the lives of 5,740 people. There was a power crisis since the hurricane knocked down the entire power grid that resulted in a total blackout in the areas. The hurricane was named as hurricane Maria. The response to the hurricane disaster was not up to the standards since various challenges faced it and this could have led to the high number of deaths witnessed (Santos & Howard, 2017). The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s proved not to be prepared to handle the disaster in advance. They failed to send goods and services to the scene in time. The challenges were poor management of the resources they had for the disaster.

The lack of resources was because FEMA failed to plan adequately for the food and fresh water that was needed in case of such occurrence. Getting to the islands was also a challenge that they never planned for in advance. The response showed that there was a chaotic and disorganized relief effort on the islands and logistical problems occupied the response.


James, E. (2017). Prelims – Managing Humanitarian Relief. Managing Humanitarian Relief – 2nd Edition, i-xxxii. doi:10.3362/9781780449029.000

Santos, A. R., & Howard, J. T. (2017). Estimates of excess deaths in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. doi:10.31235/osf.io/s7dmu


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