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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2019

Erin Hedwig Christina Kuipers, Isabelle Desportes and Michaela Hordijk

Through the case of the response to the 2017 Mocoa mudslide, the purpose of this paper is to contribute to a deeper understanding of why and how humanitarian response

Abstract

Purpose

Through the case of the response to the 2017 Mocoa mudslide, the purpose of this paper is to contribute to a deeper understanding of why and how humanitarian response should be locally led, particularly in more complex contexts such as those affected by conflict.

Design/methodology/approach

The study draws on qualitative data collected during a four-month period in 2017, with a focus on the immediate April 2017 emergency phase which presented the largest diversity of local, national and international actors.

Findings

The study has found that competing legitimacy claims between the state and non-state response blocs led to tensions and confrontations between disaster response actors and consequently a problematic response process and outcome. The institutional map that was plotted based on locally perceived actor legitimacies indicates a local state-led response would have better served the broader goals of humanitarian support, development and peacebuilding.

Practical implications

These findings have significant implications for the understanding of how the locally led response should be understood. Better alignment with local needs and feasibilities requires a differential outlook on what is to be understood as “local.” This study puts forward the insider/outsider lens as a tool to identify the actors who possess local trust and legitimacy and are thus best suited to bridge the elements of the humanitarian-development-peacebuilding triple nexus.

Originality/value

This study gives a voice to state actors, which was largely absent in previous studies.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

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Article
Publication date: 31 October 2018

Rebecca Lewin, Maria Besiou, Jean-Baptiste Lamarche, Stephen Cahill and Sara Guerrero-Garcia

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of the humanitarian supply chain (HSC) as the backbone of the humanitarian operations. It further proposes…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of the humanitarian supply chain (HSC) as the backbone of the humanitarian operations. It further proposes feasible ways to overcome some of the main supply chain challenges identified by practitioners to achieve cost efficient and effective operations.

Design/methodology/approach

The challenges that the HSC faces and proposed changes to overcome them are gathered from interviews with nearly 40 practitioners.

Findings

Five critical issues that affect the future of HSCs are identified along with recommendations to address them.

Social implications

It supports the fulfillment of the agenda for humanity’s five core responsibilities: global leadership to prevent and end conflict, uphold the norms that safeguard humanity, leave no one behind, change people’s lives – from delivering aid to ending need, and invest in humanity.

Originality/value

The original report was presented at the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016. The reader can find it via the following link www.logcluster.org/sites/default/files/whs_humanitarian_supply_chain_paper_final_24_may.pdf

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2016

Aruna Apte, Paulo Gonçalves and Keenan Yoho

Both the military and non-military organizations (NMO) bring assets, skills, and capabilities to a humanitarian crisis, however, their capabilities and competencies are…

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1354

Abstract

Purpose

Both the military and non-military organizations (NMO) bring assets, skills, and capabilities to a humanitarian crisis, however, their capabilities and competencies are very diverse. Identification of the specific competencies and capabilities that are core to these types of organizations can enable better planning by both military and NMOs, allowing them to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency in the humanitarian response. The purpose of this paper is to explore the core capabilities of the military and NMOs engaged in humanitarian operations.

Design/methodology/approach

The work builds on existing literature on the core competency of the corporation. The authors extend the concept of the ability to identify, cultivate, and exploit the core capabilities in the private sector to the organizations that want to respond efficiently and effectively to disasters. The authors develop a core competencies test for such organizations.

Findings

The research identifies the competencies and capabilities that are core to the US military and NMOs for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. By identifying such abilities the authors establish a vein of research for exploring the role of such organizations to facilitate greater understanding among academics, policy makers, and decision makers in public administration, public health, and international aid.

Originality/value

Existing literature in humanitarian logistics does not adequately address identification of those competencies and capabilities that are core to the military organizations and NMOs and are most needed during the operational life cycle of a humanitarian crisis. In addition to identifying them, the authors compare the core capabilities of the military and NMO.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

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Article
Publication date: 4 December 2017

Jose V. Gavidia

While the need for information systems is regularly highlighted in the humanitarian logistics literature, a detailed model of what such system would look like is missing…

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1282

Abstract

Purpose

While the need for information systems is regularly highlighted in the humanitarian logistics literature, a detailed model of what such system would look like is missing. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the need and advantages of enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology in humanitarian emergency logistics. The paper also proposes a model for the configuration, maintenance, operation, and improvement of the system.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper uses existing logistics and information systems literature to build the logical case for an integrated enterprise system for humanitarian emergencies, and to propose conceptual content and process models.

Findings

The problem of lack of coordination is reviewed, and a holistic solution is proposed through a structure and model of ERP systems technology to meet the specific requirements of humanitarian emergencies.

Research limitations/implications

As in any conceptual paper, a limitation of this paper is the lack of empirical validation of the proposed system. It also might be difficult to obtain the cooperation of multiple organizations. This research focuses on emergency humanitarian logistics, where effectiveness and speed have priority over simplicity or cost.

Practical implications

The model proposed in this paper links current efforts in humanitarian emergency coordination with existing supply chain information technologies, and is practically feasible both from the technological and organizational perspectives.

Social implications

Because of the critical, life or death nature of the problem, social and ethical implications of this research are broad, including the divergence of coordination in humanitarian vs commercial and military logistics, as well as inter-agency politics.

Originality/value

This paper is a bold but realistic attempt to take a holistic view of humanitarian logistics and design a system that would be effective, and calls humanitarian organizations worldwide to collaborate in its implementation.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 23 February 2021

Jorge García Castillo

The purpose of this paper is to provide an analytical model to decide between cash-based and in-kind distributions during emergency responses considering the needs of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an analytical model to decide between cash-based and in-kind distributions during emergency responses considering the needs of beneficiaries and market conditions. To allow the switch between modalities, a preparedness framework for humanitarian organizations (HOs) is provided.

Design/methodology/approach

A mathematical model is proposed to help humanitarian responders make quantitative decisions on the type of programs to implement in emergency responses. The model was applied to a field response by an international HO during the COVID-19 emergency in Colombia.

Findings

Cash-based and in-kind distributions are not mutually exclusive response modalities during emergencies, and the real needs of beneficiaries and market effects should be included in the modality selection decision to improve program effectiveness.

Research limitations/implications

The research is focused on short-term immediate response to emergencies; the proposed model assumes favorable market conditions and limits the aid options to direct in-kind and multipurpose cash assistance, excluding other types of cash transfers.

Practical implications

The research outlines practical preconditions to operationalize switching between programs during an emergency. The study provides evidence that HOs should consider dynamics decision tools to select aid modalities and evaluate their response depending on market conditions.

Social implications

Considering aid modality as a dynamic decision and including the needs from beneficiaries in the choice can have profound impact in the dignifying of humanitarian response to emergencies.

Originality/value

The quantitative model to decide between aid modalities is a novel approach to include beneficiaries' needs and market dynamics into humanitarian supply chain research. The preparedness framework closes the gap between the emergency preparedness literature and the operational constraints that organizations face for fast program implementation.

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: 10 August 2018

Irina Dolinskaya, Maria Besiou and Sara Guerrero-Garcia

Following a large-scale disaster, medical assistance is a critical component of the emergency response. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

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1300

Abstract

Purpose

Following a large-scale disaster, medical assistance is a critical component of the emergency response. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

Academic and practitioner literature is used to develop a framework studying the effectiveness of the humanitarian medical supply chain (HMSC). The framework is validated by using the findings of interviews conducted with experts and the case study of a serious humanitarian medical crisis (Ebola outbreak in 2014).

Findings

The factors affecting the effectiveness of the HMSC are identified.

Research limitations/implications

To get an expert opinion on the major logistical challenges of the medical assistance in emergencies only 11 interviews with practitioners were conducted.

Originality/value

While the existing academic literature discusses the distribution of various supplies needed by the affected population, limited research focuses specifically on studying the HMSC aspect of the response. This paper closes this gap by describing the HMSC in the case of disaster response, and identifying the factors affecting its effectiveness, especially focusing on the factors that are unique to the medical aspect of the humanitarian supply chain.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

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Article
Publication date: 21 March 2020

Mohammad Asif Salam and Sami A. Khan

The purpose of this study is to draw lessons for logistics management in humanitarian disasters, using the earthquake in Haiti as a case study. In Haiti, there were…

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1238

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to draw lessons for logistics management in humanitarian disasters, using the earthquake in Haiti as a case study. In Haiti, there were problems with the logistical response. This study investigates the humanitarian logistics challenges faced by various stakeholders in Haiti during the disaster-relief operations.

Design/methodology/approach

In this exploratory case study, the central methodology used was data triangulation. Data triangulation involved interviews with respondents grouped into three categories, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the military establishment and the governmental agencies. Prominence is given to the common themes expressed by each group. These common themes are then compared to the themes of other groups to identify opportunities and problems for future disaster relief operations.

Findings

The study indicates that there is a clear gap in terms of how the humanitarian efforts were coordinated between different actors. Lack of civil–military cooperation and coordination was one of the findings from the interviews, and many of the resources and initiatives were overlapping or redundant. Timeliness and efficiency need to be at the forefront of all planning and would result in more saved lives and reduced human suffering. The key goal of humanitarian logistics stipulates is to form connections and relationships, which was well illustrated through the informants' interviews. It was found that organizing different stakeholders/actors to work together by sharing processes and distribution channels demands a vision that goes beyond logistics management. Government agencies, the military establishment, NGOs, locals and victims need to collaborate to create a synergy in generating solutions that are tailored to the shock of the disaster in the first place.

Research limitations/implications

The current study relies on a single case study approach as disaster scenarios are unique in terms of their impact, magnitude, timing and location. Despite these limitations, this study provides a detailed account of the logistical challenges in dealing with the disaster that took place in Haiti. The logistics-related lessons learned from this case study should be carefully applied in other settings, taken into consideration contextual differences.

Practical implications

One important aspect of measuring efficiency for any commercial logistics system is key performance indicators (KPIs) that indicate how well the firm is doing in managing its inbound and outbound operations. From a practical standpoint, the Haiti case raised a challenging concern with regard to how to measure the performance of humanitarian disaster logistics. This is a starting point to understand the dynamics of disaster system efficiency and logistics interplay and offers a few lessons to improve the resource availability in the case of future emergencies.

Originality/value

This study lays the groundwork for future researchers to explore and debrief on the topic once disaster relief draws to a close and time has allowed logisticians and relief workers to analyze the response mechanisms used in disasters.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 30 July 2021

Anthony Beresford and Stephen Pettit

This paper provides a contextualised review of research in the area of humanitarian and emergency relief logistics, providing insights with particular emphasis on lessons…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper provides a contextualised review of research in the area of humanitarian and emergency relief logistics, providing insights with particular emphasis on lessons learned. The paper tracks the evolution of research against the development of partner networks and key global events; information was collated and assimilated from cross-cutting themes such as disaster preparedness, emergency response structures and the transferability of commercial-world concepts and principles (such as sustainability) into volatile and fragile environments. It concludes by suggesting possible future challenges which could steer humanitarian response on the ground and will influence the path of academic research going forward.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides a general review of work undertaken in the area of Humanitarian Logistics. Use is made of vignettes of case studies in order to provide focus to the discussion and to highlight key issues that emerged from the research reviewed.

Findings

The findings show that there are several new areas of research which will need to be addressed in the humanitarian logistics arena. The discussion demonstrates that research into crisis response is arguably even more important today than it has been previously. Research therefore likely needs to be expanded considerably over the next decade and beyond.

Originality/value

This paper contextualises and synthesises past research into humanitarian logistics responses, highlights key themes and suggests areas for further research.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 15 June 2021

Claudia Paciarotti, Wojciech D. Piotrowicz and George Fenton

The paper is focused on standards in humanitarian logistics and supply chain. Standards, implemented between organisations, allow improving the interoperability of…

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1219

Abstract

Purpose

The paper is focused on standards in humanitarian logistics and supply chain. Standards, implemented between organisations, allow improving the interoperability of humanitarian operations. The paper aims (1) to review a state-of-the-art approach to the topic by the academic community, (2) to evaluate the current use of standards among humanitarian organisations and (3) to investigate the perceived need for further and specific standards.

Design/methodology/approach

To achieve the aims, the literature was reviewed; then a survey on 227 professionals from the humanitarian logistics sector was conducted.

Findings

Based on 227 responses, it is possible to conclude that most surveyed professionals recognise the need for and the importance of standardisation in humanitarian logistics, especially in areas such as procurement, distribution, medical logistics and logistics planning, which were perceived as critical areas that require standardisation.

Research limitations/implications

Practitioners and scholars were targeted via social media, through mailing lists and via communication from the practitioner organisation – the Humanitarian Logistics Association (HLA). While it provided good access to different groups of respondents, the response rate is not possible to calculate.

Practical implications

The findings confirm the high importance of standardisation, indicating areas and functions that should be standardised first. Standardisation may improve cooperation between different humanitarian actors, allowing better service provision for beneficiaries. Thus there are also potential negative impacts, i.e. impact on localisation, which should be overcome.

Social implications

Results do not have a direct social impact; however, they stimulate research and work among practitioners on standardisation, which in turn could improve cooperation between humanitarian actors, thereby enabling a better humanitarian response in emergencies.

Originality/value

The majority of papers on standardisation use a qualitative approach. This paper applies a survey among a large network of humanitarian practitioners, capturing their view on the topic and perception of the need for standardisation. The work is descriptive; however, it could be used as a base for further studies related to humanitarian standards.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

Content available
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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1179

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

Keywords

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