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Information Resources Management Association
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Humanitarian Aid Logistics: The Wenchuan and Haiti Earthquakes Compared

Humanitarian Aid Logistics: The Wenchuan and Haiti Earthquakes Compared
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Author(s): Anthony Beresford (Cardiff University, UK) and Stephen Pettit (Cardiff University, UK)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 22
Source title: Supply Chain Management: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2625-6.ch039


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This chapter contrasts the response to the Wenchuan earthquake (May 2008) which took place in a landlocked region of China with that of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which as an island nation, was theoretically easily accessible to external aid provision via air or sea. In the initial period following the Wenchuan earthquake, the response was wholly internal as a detailed needs assessment was carried out. Once the Chinese authorities had established the scale of response required, international assistance was quickly allowed into the country. Several multimodal solutions were devised to minimize the risk of supply breakdown. Haiti required substantial external aid and logistics support, but severe organizational and infrastructural weaknesses rendered the supply chain extremely vulnerable locally. This translated to a mismatch between the volume of aid supplied and logistics capability, highlighting the importance of “last-mile” distribution management. The two earthquakes posed extreme challenges to the logistics operations, though both required a mix of military and non-military input into the logistics response. Nonetheless, in each case the non-standard logistics solutions which were devised broadly met the requirements for effective aid distribution in extreme environments.

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