Humanitarian Aid, Disaster Relief, and the Supply Chain

Open Access
Branigan, Tara Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
Supply Chain and Information Systems
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Robert Alexander Novack, Thesis Supervisor
  • John C Spychalski, Honors Advisor
  • Supply Chain
  • Logisitcs
  • Humanitarian Aid
  • Disaster Relief
This paper details and analyzes four significant world events occurring in the past one hundred years requiring a unique supply chain in the area of humanitarian aid and relief. These events are: The Berlin Airlift of the 1940s, the massive destruction brought upon by Hurricane Katrina in 2008, the devastation that is still present in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, and the earthquake and ensuing tsunami that desolated Japan in 2011. The metrics observed include responsiveness (the speed in which the relief efforts were implemented); the coordination of the parties involved in the aid (i.e. the effectiveness of the lines of communication involved); and a fundamental analysis of the resulting outcomes. This topic is of utmost importance as supply chains become ever more complex, and the addition of often unpredictable or never before encountered disaster situations amplifies this complexity. In conclusion, the paper will provide a clear analysis of where humanitarian relief is at present and where it needs to be in the future to enable better preparation and inevitably save lives and prevent such occurrences from being capable of wreaking such insurmountable havoc.