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Using OR to support humanitarian operations: learning from the Haiti earthquake

Author: Pedraza Martinez, Alfonso ; Stapleton, Orla ; Van Wassenhove, Luk N.INSEAD Area: Technology and Operations Management Series: Working Paper ; 2010/47/TOM/ISIC Publisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD Social Innovation Centre (ISIC) 2010.Language: EnglishDescription: 29 p.Type of document: INSEAD Working Paper Online Access: Click here Abstract: The response to the Haiti Earthquake in 2010 has been declared the largest humanitarian operation ever carried out in a single country. Efficiently allocating scarce resources for responding to such type of massive disaster has proven to be extremely challenging. This paper identifies areas where applied operations research can have a significant impact in supporting large scale humanitarian operations. We describe the immediate response to the Haiti Earthquake focusing on five clusters: logistics, health, food, shelter and non-food items, and water, sanitation and hygiene. In each case we specify the on the ground situation, the operational objective, the key decision problems, the main bottlenecks and the outcome of the response operation. Finally, we provide recommendations on conducting research with humanitarian organizations based on over ten years of experience.
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The response to the Haiti Earthquake in 2010 has been declared the largest humanitarian operation ever carried out in a single country. Efficiently allocating scarce resources for responding to such type of massive disaster has proven to be extremely challenging. This paper identifies areas where applied operations research can have a significant impact in supporting large scale humanitarian operations. We describe the immediate response to the Haiti Earthquake focusing on five clusters: logistics, health, food, shelter and non-food items, and water, sanitation and hygiene. In each case we specify the on the ground situation, the operational objective, the key decision problems, the main bottlenecks and the outcome of the response operation. Finally, we provide recommendations on conducting research with humanitarian organizations based on over ten years of experience.

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