Managing humanitarian logistics
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Managing humanitarian logistics. Gyöngyi Kovács Erkko Professor in Humanitarian Logistics Director of the Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Research Institute (HUMLOG Institute). ”Each disaster is unique” – is it?. Why prepare for specific types of disasters?

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Managing humanitarian logistics

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Managing humanitarian logistics

Gyöngyi Kovács Erkko Professor in Humanitarian Logistics

Director of the Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Research Institute (HUMLOG Institute)

HUMLOG Institute

”Each disaster is unique” – is it?

  • Why prepare for specific types of disasters?

    • Early warning systems depend on types of disasters

    • Evacuation plans depend on the types

    • Reoccurring events

      => Impacts on evacuation routes, facility location…

  • But – there are also commonalities among disasters

    • Commonalities in impact: dilapidated transport infrastructure, affected people, psychological impact…

    • Commonalities in needs: basic needs are the same, priorities (water, food, shelter) are the same

      => Commonalities in logistical preparedness – what to preposition

HUMLOG Institute

Management locally

  • Locally, the typical disaster profile is known and can be prepared for <=> learning from past events

    • Cyclical disasters - cyclones, hurricanes, monsoon seasons, snow-melt floods, even earthquakes

    • Regional disaster profile – from avalanches to pandemics

  • Local/regional preparedness vs. prevention

    • Prevention of the disaster, e.g. pandemics

    • Prevention of the impact, e.g. building codes and permits

    • Preparedness of the local community – community resilience, poverty reduction

    • Preparedness in the supply chain – framework contracts, VMI, pre-positioned stock…

HUMLOG Institute

Managing humanitarian logistics

  • The typical logistics management principles apply

    • From VMI to consolidation, supply chain visibility

    • BUT: there is no time to collect data to run complex models in the immediate aftermaths of a disaster

  • The challenge is to…

    • Rapidly assess the needs on the ground and establish access – partly done through the local chapters of international organisations that are embedded in local society

    • Integrate the humanitarian supply chain in public systems to facilitate surge models in e.g. health care, school feeding…

    • Integrate communities and local business in humanitarian supply chains

    • Achieve supply chain visibility in and across supply chains

HUMLOG Institute

Further information:HUMLOG Institute: subscribe to the newsletter of the HUMLOG Institute, send an e-mail to with the text "subscribe humlognews" in the text (no subject heading). Gyöngyi Kovács (

HUMLOG Institute

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