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Humanitarian logistics: enhancing the engagement of local populations

Allan Sheppard (Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia)
Peter Tatham (Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia)
Ron Fisher (Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia)
Rodney Gapp (Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia)

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 2042-6747

Article publication date: 17 May 2013



The purpose of the paper is to identify how local populations, particularly at the municipal and village levels, can enhance their capacity to prepare and respond more effectively and efficiently to the logistic challenges that they face in the aftermath of a natural disaster.


Using a phenomenological approach, a qualitative research study was conducted from an interpretative, constructivist perspective. Through a series of semi‐structured interviews the researchers gathered stories about the experiences of local responders at municipal level in the capital city region of the Republic of the Philippines in the aftermath of a specific natural disaster event (Typhoon Ondoy – September 2009). A number of key differences between the espoused strategies expressed in disaster management legislation and the actual experiences of local people on the ground were identified and, as a result, a conceptual model was developed that, if implemented, would enhance the capacity of local populations to prepare and respond in a more efficient and effective manner.


Results from the study indicate that the ability of local populations to contribute to the logistic preparation and response processes has been considerably undervalued and underutilised. A revised model is therefore developed that better incorporates their potential contribution to the management of both the demand and supply sides that would lead to swifter, more accurate, and more efficient logistic response mechanisms.


The developing canon of humanitarian logistic literature has, to date, been relatively silent on the subject of the contribution of the local population to the overall logistic management challenge. The paper provides important insights into the issues on which the government of a developing country could usefully focus attention in their approach to natural disaster preparedness and response, and it offers a conceptual model for future testing and evaluation.



Sheppard, A., Tatham, P., Fisher, R. and Gapp, R. (2013), "Humanitarian logistics: enhancing the engagement of local populations", Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 22-36.



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