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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2021

Russell Harpring, Amin Maghsoudi, Christian Fikar, Wojciech D. Piotrowicz and Graham Heaslip

This study aims to describe the compounding factors in a complex emergency, which exacerbate a cholera epidemic among vulnerable populations due to supply chain…

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to describe the compounding factors in a complex emergency, which exacerbate a cholera epidemic among vulnerable populations due to supply chain disruptions. Basic needs such as food, medicine, water, sanitation and hygiene commodities are critical to reduce the incidence rate of cholera and control the spread of infection. Conflicts cause damage to infrastructure, displace vulnerable populations and restrict the flow of goods from both commercial and humanitarian organizations. This study assesses the underlying internal and external factors that either aggravate or mitigate the risk of a cholera outbreak in such settings, using Yemen as a case study.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopts a system dynamics methodology to analyze factors that influence cholera outbreaks in the context of the Yemeni Civil War. A causal loop diagram with multiple components was constructed to represent the complexities of humanitarian situations that require critical decision-making. The model was built using data from humanitarian organizations, non-governmental organizations and practitioners, along with literature from academic sources. Variables in the model were confirmed through semi-structured interviews with a field expert.

Findings

Compounding factors that influenced the cholera outbreak in Yemen are visualized in a causal loop diagram, which can improve the understanding of relationships where numerous uncertainties exist. A strong link exists between humanitarian response and the level of infrastructure development in a country. Supply chains are affected by constraints deriving from the Yemeni conflict, further inhibiting the use of infrastructure, which limits access to basic goods and services. Aligning long-term development objectives with short-term humanitarian response efforts can create more flexible modes of assistance to prevent and control future outbreaks.

Research limitations/implications

The model focuses on the qualitative aspects of system dynamics to visualize the logistics and supply chain-related constraints that impact cholera prevention, treatment and control through humanitarian interventions. The resulting causal loop diagram is bounded by the Yemen context; thus, an extension of the model adapted for other contexts is recommended for further study.

Practical implications

This study presents a systematic view of dynamic factors existing in complex emergencies that have cause-and-effect relationships. Several models of cholera outbreaks have been used in previous studies, primarily focusing on the modes and mechanisms of transmission throughout a population. However, such models typically do not include other internal and external factors that influence the population and context at the site of an outbreak. This model incorporates those factors from a logistics perspective to address the distribution of in-kind goods and cash and voucher assistance.

Social implications

This study has been aligned with six of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), using their associated targets in the model as variables that influence the cholera incidence rate. Recognizing that the SDGs are interlinked, as are the dynamic factors in complex humanitarian emergencies, the authors have chosen to take an interdisciplinary approach to consider social, economic and environmental factors that may be impacted by this research.

Originality/value

This paper provides an insight into the underlying inter-relations of internal and external factors present in the context of a cholera outbreak in a complex crisis. Supply chains for food; water, sanitation and hygiene; and health products are crucial to help prevent, control and treat an outbreak. The model exposes vulnerabilities in the supply chain, which may offer guidance for decision makers to improve resilience, reduce disruptions and decrease the severity of cholera outbreaks.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2016

Romana Berariu, Christian Fikar, Manfred Gronalt and Patrick Hirsch

The purpose of this paper is to present a system dynamics (SD) model that allows one to simulate resource deployment to fulfill increasing needs for commodities such as…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a system dynamics (SD) model that allows one to simulate resource deployment to fulfill increasing needs for commodities such as food and other consumables during disaster situations. The focus is on managing a suddenly increased demand (hoarding behavior) of an affected population under restricted transport conditions. The model aims to support decision makers by fostering comprehension of the systemic behavior and interdependencies of those complex settings.

Design/methodology/approach

Through literature review and case study analyses the SD model was established and implemented with STELLA 10.1.1.

Findings

The needs of relief units for response operations and supply of evacuees in the affected region result in conflicting needs under limited transport conditions during disaster situations. Therefore, uncertainties and dynamic parameters as, e.g., occurring delays, limited information, or delivery constraints and their influence on resource deployment under a sudden demand, have been identified and incorporated in this work. The authors found that an oscillating behavior within the system is possible to occur and is more intensified in case of regarding the additional needs of evacuees and relief units.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the high level of abstraction, it is not possible to incorporate all influencing variables in the SD model. Therefore, the authors focused on the most important ones with regard to the model objective.

Practical implications

To focus on awareness raising is of importance for decision makers in the context of disaster management. Furthermore, the authors found that the oscillating behavior is more irregular in case of assuming a higher increase rate of the water gauge than if a low increase rate is assumed.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, none of the work already done refers to providing a flood-prone area with commodities under consideration of a sudden demand, by applying the SD approach. The presented model contributes on the generation of systemic insights of resource deployment under consideration of conflicting needs in times of a river flood to support decision makers in those situations.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2016

Romana Berariu, Christian Fikar, Manfred Gronalt and Patrick Hirsch

– The purpose of this paper is to present a training model for decision makers that covers the complexity which is inherent in decision-making processes in times of floods.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a training model for decision makers that covers the complexity which is inherent in decision-making processes in times of floods.

Design/methodology/approach

Through literature review, case study analysis and iterative interviews with decision-makers, the model was established. It enables one to simulate different scenarios depending on selected influencing factors and was implemented with Stella 9.1.

Findings

Flood events are highly complex and their development process is significantly influenced by various conditions. The findings show that the most important factor is the water level which determines the time available to respond. The presented System Dynamics (SD) model has the capability to capture such complex settings. Through what-if analysis and the comparison of different scenarios, learning effects are achieved by using the model.

Research limitations/implications

The level of abstraction is high. Not all influencing variables can be incorporated due to the variety of flood events. Based on experts’ recommendations, the most relevant factors were included as areas of focus in the model.

Practical implications

The generated model is presented to facilitate holistic comprehension of the modelling process. It offers the possibility to start learning processes through scenario analyses in order to strengthen decision-makers’ understanding of complexity.

Originality/value

To the best of our knowledge, there are no comparable studies that focus on the generation process of building an SD-model for educational purposes in flood response.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

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Article
Publication date: 30 June 2020

Omar Javaid, Aamir Feroz Shamsi and Irfan Hyder

There are many entrepreneurial communities in the Asian subcontinent, which are known for their economic resilience and religious orientation but have received limited…

Abstract

Purpose

There are many entrepreneurial communities in the Asian subcontinent, which are known for their economic resilience and religious orientation but have received limited attention in extant literature. These communities include Memon, Delhiwala, Chinioti, Ismaili and Bohri, which have been persistent in keeping their members economically stable, as many centuries, while also retaining their religio-sociocultural identity. This paper aims to add to the body of literature by documenting the possible factors, which contribute toward advancing socio-economic justice for the members of respective communities.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses Eisenhardth research strategy within a social constructivist paradigm to process data from in-depth interviews, memos and documentary sources to explore the internal dynamics of three most prominent of these communities (Memon, Delhiwala and Chinioti) in Pakistan.

Findings

The findings reveal that the secret to their resilience is, perhaps, rooted in their religio-sociocultural communal norms, which may not just ensure effective wealth redistribution among the deserving segments of the society but may also enable its deserving members to achieve self-reliance through community-supported–entrepreneurial–activity. This study proposes that a culture of community-based–family–entrepreneurship coupled with the spirit of cooperation, sacrifice and reciprocity may eliminate the possibility of socioeconomic injustice.

Social implications

The religious entrepreneurial communities may be seen as an alternate to free-market or state-driven methods to impart socioeconomic justice where needed. The voluntary inclination of entrepreneurs in such communities to facilitate those in need may, perhaps, reduce or even eliminate the need to involve state intervention to redistribute wealth through taxation, which may also eliminate the cost of the state bureaucracy, which is used for the collection and redistribution of taxes.

Originality/value

The findings add to the body of literature which could help similar communities to improve their socioeconomic stability in a just manner for all its members. Policymakers can also take notice of the religio-sociocultural norms at the source of socioeconomic justice within the respective communities to formulate policies conducive to sustaining such norms where necessary.

Details

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6204

Keywords

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