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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

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
”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
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 logistics1
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