Review the Transportation Research News Report, August 2013. (Found in attachment).
This is a long document that you can review later, but focus on pages 11-17 addressing Humanitarian Relief and Broken Supply Chains. There are 7 key topics in this section.
Pick one area and briefly explain its impact- positive or negative- as it relates to relief and supply chains. If you can find a disaster to support your position, that would be great.
* FEMA IS-27 course will be headful to
1. Discuss logistics functions and responsibilities within the larger operations plan.
2.Identify forms and required documentation needed to maintain logistic operations during emergencies.
䡲 Key Lessons for Postdisaster Humanitarian Logistics
䡲 Building Adaptive Supply Chains
䡲 Assembling a Model for Community Recovery
䡲 Planning for the Worst, Teaming with the Best
䡲 Securing the Fuel Supply
䡲 Timely Interventions: Social Media, Ferries
䡲 Commercial Aviation and Business Continuity
Communicating the Urgency
for Action on Climate Change
TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD
2013 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE*
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
The Transportation Research Board is one
of six major divisions of the National
Research Council, which serves as an
independent adviser to the federal government and others on scientific and
technical questions of national importance, and which is jointly administered
by the National Academy of Sciences, the
National Academy of Engineering, and
the Institute of Medicine. The mission of
the Transportation Research Board is to
provide leadership in transportation
innovation and progress through
research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective,
interdisciplinary, and multimodal. The
Board’s varied activities annually engage
about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and
other transportation researchers and
practitioners from the public and private
sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state
transportation departments, federal
agencies including the component
administrations of the U.S. Department
of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the
development of transportation.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of
Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad
community of science and technology
with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the
federal government. Functioning in
accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has
become the principal operating agency
of both the National Academy of
Sciences and the National Academy of
Engineering in providing services to the
government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities.
Chair: Deborah H. Butler, Executive Vice President, Planning, and CIO, Norfolk Southern Corporation, Norfolk,
Vice Chair: Kirk T. Steudle, Director, Michigan Department of Transportation, Lansing
Executive Director: Robert E. Skinner, Jr., Transportation Research Board
Victoria A. Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center, and Visiting Professor, Georgetown
University Law Center, Washington, D.C.
Scott E. Bennett, Director, Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, Little Rock
William A. V. Clark, Professor of Geography (emeritus) and Professor of Statistics (emeritus), Department of
Geography, University of California, Los Angeles
James M. Crites, Executive Vice President of Operations, Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport, Texas
Malcolm Dougherty, Director, California Department of Transportation, Sacramento
John S. Halikowski, Director, Arizona Department of Transportation, Phoenix
Michael W. Hancock, Secretary, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Frankfort
Susan Hanson, Distinguished University Professor Emerita, School of Geography, Clark University, Worcester,
Steve Heminger, Executive Director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Oakland, California
Chris T. Hendrickson, Duquesne Light Professor of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh,
Jeffrey D. Holt, Managing Director, Bank of Montreal Capital Markets, and Chairman, Utah Transportation
Commission, Huntsville, Utah
Gary P. LaGrange, President and CEO, Port of New Orleans, Louisiana
Michael P. Lewis, Director, Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Providence
Joan McDonald, Commissioner, New York State Department of Transportation, Albany
Donald A. Osterberg, Senior Vice President, Safety and Security, Schneider National, Inc., Green Bay, Wisconsin
Steve Palmer, Vice President of Transportation, Lowe’s Companies, Inc., Mooresville, North Carolina
Sandra Rosenbloom, Director, Innovation in Infrastructure, The Urban Institute, Washington, D.C. (Past Chair,
Henry G. (Gerry) Schwartz, Jr., Chairman (retired), Jacobs/Sverdrup Civil, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri
Kumares C. Sinha, Olson Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette,
Daniel Sperling, Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy; Director, Institute of
Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis
Gary C. Thomas, President and Executive Director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Dallas, Texas
Phillip A. Washington, General Manager, Regional Transportation District, Denver, Colorado
Rebecca M. Brewster, President and COO, American Transportation Research Institute, Marietta, Georgia
Anne S. Ferro, Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
LeRoy Gishi, Chief, Division of Transportation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior,
Washington, D.C. (ex officio)
John T. Gray II, Senior Vice President, Policy and Economics, Association of American Railroads, Washington,
D.C. (ex officio)
Michael P. Huerta, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
David T. Matsuda, Administrator, Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio)
Michael P. Melaniphy, President and CEO, American Public Transportation Association, Washington, D.C.
Victor M. Mendez, Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
Robert J. Papp (Adm., U.S. Coast Guard), Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Homeland
Security (ex officio)
Lucy Phillips Priddy, Research Civil Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Chair,
TRB Young Members Council (ex officio)
Cynthia L. Quarterman, Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S.
Department of Transportation (ex officio)
Peter M. Rogoff, Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio)
David L. Strickland, Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of
Transportation (ex officio)
Joseph C. Szabo, Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio)
Polly Trottenberg, Under Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio)
Robert L. Van Antwerp (Lt. General, U.S. Army), Chief of Engineers and Commanding General, U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C. (ex officio)
Barry R. Wallerstein, Executive Officer, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Diamond Bar, California
Gregory D. Winfree, Acting Administrator, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, U.S.
Department of Transportation (ex officio)
Frederick G. (Bud) Wright, Executive Director, American Association of State Highway and Transportation
Officials, Washington, D.C. (ex officio)
* Membership as of August 2013.
LOGISTICS OF DISASTER RESPONSE AND BUSINESS CONTINUITY
Transportation’s Roles in Disaster Response
Jon S. Meyer
Many parties are involved in transportation’s role in disaster relief and business continuity;
the articles assembled here offer snapshots of well-researched initiatives, improvements,
collaborations, insights, and the steps ahead.
Improving Postdisaster Humanitarian Logistics:
Three Key Lessons from Catastrophic Events
José Holguín-Veras, Miguel Jaller, and Tricia Wachtendorf
The authors present three practical lessons gleaned from fieldwork after the Port-auPrince, Haiti, earthquake and the Tohoku, Japan, tsunami: the strategic differences between
disasters and catastrophes, the need to control the spontaneous flow of supplies, and the
benefits of integrating the civic society into the response and recovery.
Humanitarian Relief and Broken Supply Chains: Advancing Logistics Performance
John T. (Jock) Menzies III and Omar (Keith) Helferich
All of the stakeholders in a relief operation—donors, humanitarian groups, governments,
local nongovernment organizations, the military, and the private sector—are connected by
a fragile supply chain. The challenge is to create a flexible and adaptive supply chain for
humanitarian relief, capable of launching a variety of services appropriate to the incident,
with a wide scope, in a short time. The authors identify practical approaches.
17 Humanitarian Clean Water Initiative in the Dominican Republic: Summary of a
John T. (Jock) Menzies III and Omar (Keith) Helferich
Building Resilience in Community Recovery:
Overcoming Supply Chain Performance Challenges in a Crisis
The Arlington County Office of Emergency Management is implementing a supply
chain–focused partnership between local government and private businesses. The goal is to
enable a fast, smooth transition from the supply chain’s normal, cost-efficient function to
the life-saving focus needed in a crisis.
20 Summit Explores Lessons from Supply Chains
23 Disaster Resilience in America: Steps Forward
Elizabeth A. Eide and Lauren Alexander Augustine
24 Fuel Supply in an Emergency: Securing the Weakest Link
26 Social Media in Disaster Preparation, Response, and Recovery
Sarah M. Kaufman
28 Ferries to the Rescue: Lessons for Resilience on Waterways
Roberta E. Weisbrod and Adam Zaranko
30 Emergency Management and Business Continuity Within Commercial Aviation
Richard Bloom, Joyce Kirk-Moyer, and Norm Wrona
Planning for the Worst, Teaming with the Best: Instituting an Emergency
Management Program in Idaho to Maximize Performance
Bryan D. Smith
Instead of building a conventional emergency management office, the Idaho
Transportation Department has established a broad, team-focused system and program that
can tap into all the expertise, staff, and resources of the department and the state. The best
cross-functional team can be ready for deployment anywhere in the state at any time, and
can grow as fast as necessary, as big as necessary, for as long as necessary.
38 Transportation Hazards and Security Summit and Peer Exchange:
Advancing Research and Applications for Agencies
Stephan A. Parker
COVER: A U.S. Coast Guard crew loads
medical supplies for first responders in Portau-Prince, Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake.
Recent natural and human-caused disasters
have highlighted gaps in international aid
and disaster relief logistics. (Photo: Stephen
Lehmann, U.S. Coast Guard)
features articles on innovative and timely
research and development activities in all modes
of transportation. Brief news items of interest to
the transportation community are also included,
along with profiles of transportation professionals, meeting announcements, summaries of
new publications, and news of Transportation
Research Board activities.
POINT OF VIEW
Communicating the Urgency for Action on Climate Change:
Challenges and Approaches
Robert B. Noland
The science of climate change suggests that ambitious initiatives are needed in
planning for adaptation and in implementing policies to mitigate potentially severe
impacts in the next 50 years. How can transportation professionals play a role in
advocating and implementing the most effective policy options? The author
reviews research that offers guidelines for overcoming the barriers to
communication about climate change.
TR News is produced by the
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Research Pays Off
Extending the Service Life of Pavement Markings: Iowa Applies Innovation and
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Omar Smadi, Neal Hawkins, and Robert Younie
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Noise barriers—the traditional approach
to traffic noise abatement in the
suburban setting—target the primary
noise source and provide a means of
restoring or improving the soundscape.
The September–October issue of TR News
focuses on environmental sustainability in
transportation and how it can improve the
quality of life for individuals and communities. Articles highlight practice-ready research
and cover such topics as integrating vegetation and green infrastructure into sustainable
transportation planning; implementing the
Eco-Logical approach in Nevada, Colorado,
Utah, Montana, Washington, and Oregon;
Virginia’s improved construction specifications for stormwater pipe-lining materials;
creating a multiagency sustainability framework in Colorado; effective noise barriers in
North Carolina; Delaware’s use of recycling
materials and techniques; sustainability in
airspace system planning; and more.
he Transportation Research Board established the Task Force
on Logistics of Disaster Response and Business Continuity in
2012. The mission of the task force is to provide a forum to
initiate and facilitate discussion, feedback, and exchange between
the different parties involved in the various aspects of disaster
relief and humanitarian aid logistics—from academia, industry, all
levels of government, the military, research, nongovernmental
organizations, and U.S. and international relief agencies.
The need for this dialogue is readily apparent in the response
to the many natural disasters that have occurred in the past few
years—for example, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan
and Superstorm Sandy, the deadliest and most destructive
hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic season and the second-costliest in
U.S. history. The feature articles, minifeatures, and sidebars in this
issue of TR News provide snapshots of the many parties involved
in transportation’s role in disaster relief and business continuity—
their well-researched initiatives, improvements, collaborations,
insights, and the steps ahead—to stimulate interest in this topic,
as well as participation in the ongoing efforts of the task force.
—Jon S. Meyer, Chair
Task Force on Logistics of Disaster Relief
and Business Continuity
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
Appreciation is expressed to TRB Senior
Program Officers Joedy W. Cambridge,
who retired in May, and Scott Brotemarkle
for their work in developing this issue of
TR News. The magazine’s editorial board
salutes Cambridge for her work in coordinating a variety of theme issues on marine,
freight, and transportation security topics
and in recruiting many additional feature
articles during her TRB career.
Improving Postdisaster Humanitarian Logistics
Three Key Lessons from Catastrophic Events
JOSÉ HOLGUÍN-VERAS, MIGUEL JALLER, AND TRICIA WACHTENDORF
Holguín-Veras is a 2013
recipient of a U.S. White
House Champion of
Change Award for “exemplary leadership in developing or implementing
solutions to enhance performance, reduce congestion, improve safety, and
across the transportation
Flooding at the Sendai
Airport near the site of
the March 2011 Tohoku
atastrophic events such as the 2004 Indian
Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in 2005,
the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake, and the
Tohoku tsunami in 2011 reinforce the critical importance of postdisaster humanitarian logistics (PD-HL),
not only in transporting and distributing supplies to
the affected populations but in the larger response
effort. Conducting efficient and effective PD-HL
operations in the aftermath of such events is a huge
The world today is embedded in complex
sociotechnical systems—networks of individuals
conducting technical activities through a set of supporting systems, such as transportation, communications, and finance. The impacts of a catastrophe on
these components and systems are severe, as individual members of the social networks may be killed,
injured, or displaced; the equipment and materials
needed to conduct the technical activities may be
destroyed or may lack the necessary inputs to run;
and all of the supporting systems are likely to be
inoperable or to function at a fraction of their normal capacity.
Catastrophic events present other unique and
notable challenges. In the aftermath, large and
dynamically changing volumes of critical supplies
must be transported in a short time; great uncertainty prevails about the needs for critical supplies;
the ability of the local civic society to organize a
response is compromised; large portions of critical
local assets are destroyed; and huge flows of nonpriority donations arrive at the site, distracting
resources from more critical tasks (1–3).
Moreover, a poor understanding of catastrophes
affects the nature and efficiency of a response.
Because catastrophic events are rare, only a minuscule percentage of responders have experience in
postcatastrophe logistics and operations. In addition,
the events are extremely dynamic and can quickly
transition from stage to stage. Lastly, catastrophes
are extremely difficult to study—travel to the area is
required soon after to observe the unfolding
Fieldwork that has spanned such catastrophic
events as the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on
the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, the Portau-Prince earthquake, the Tohoku tsunami, the
Joplin tornados, and Superstorm Sandy has yielded
definite lessons. The focus here, however, is on the
top three lessons learned from the Port-au-Prince
PHOTO: SAMUEL MORSE, U.S. AIR FORCE
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
Holguín-Veras is William
H. Hart Professor and
Director, and Jaller is
Research Associate, Volvo
Research and Educational
Foundations’ Center of
Excellence for Sustainable
Urban Freight Systems
and the Center for Infrastructure, Transportation,
and the Environment,
Department of Civil and
Environmental Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New
York. Wachtendorf is Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and
Criminal Justice and Associate Director, Disaster
Research Center, University of Delaware, Newark.
and the Tohoku responses. These two events provide
complementary lessons leading to a unified and comprehensive set of suggestions for improvement (4–6).
Lesson 1. Disasters and
catastrophes are not the same;
be ready for both.
Disasters of all sizes leave trails of destruction and
human suffering that defy easy description or categorization. Individuals and families can experience
impacts that are disastrous or catastrophic on a personal level; nevertheless, disasters are defined from
a sociological and not from a personal perspective—
the focus is on how communities and societies can
best prepare for and respond to extreme events.
Although the appropriate definition is a subject of
debate (7), a disaster can be understood as “a nonroutine event that exceeds the capacity of the affected
area to respond in a way that saves lives, preserves
property, and maintains the social, ecological, economic, and political stability of the affected region”
(8). In contrast, a catastrophe is “a high-consequence
event that generates widespread and crippling
impacts, [so that] the ability of the impacted society
to respond is severely compromised” (2, 9).
The typical impacts of disasters and catastrophes
are summarized in Table 1 (below). In disasters, the
local capacity to respond is viable and depends on
the state of the civic leadership, the availability of
critical supplies, and the capacity to mobilize and distribute critical supplies. The response effort has
access to multiple entry points in the disaster area,
and the local distribution effort is simpler than in a
In short, the local civic society is able to provide
a meaningful first wave of resources in response to a
disaster. Outside help complements the local effort
beyond the initial 24 to 48 hours, as outlined in the
National Response Framework (10).
By contrast, a catastrophe is likely to have had an
impact on the local leadership, which may be unable
Pallets of water
treatment gear are
loaded onto an Oxfam
aid flight to Haiti after
the 2010 earthquake in
TABLE 1 Comparison of Impacts: Disasters Versus Catastrophes
Leadership of civic society
Typically survives the disaster and is
able to lead the response
In most cases, severely affected and
unable to lead an effective response
Local stocks of supplies in
businesses and households
Only partly destroyed; the surviving
supplies may become part of the
Mostly destroyed; the role of local
supplies in the response is minimal
Demand for supplies
Increases with the needs of businesses, people, and the response; precautionary or opportunistic buying
could be a problem
Huge increases because of the magnitude of the impacts; precautionary
or opportunistic buying could be a
problem in nearby areas
Private-sector supply chains
Partly impacted but functional, could Severed, destroyed, cannot help in
help in response
Number of points of entry
to the disaster area
Multiple points of entry provide
Only a few points of entry, compliresponders with alternatives to enter cating distribution efforts
Complexity of the local distribution
Challenging but manageable
Exceedingly complex, because of the
size of the impacted area and the
Material convergence of
A nuisance that can be controlled
A major problem that distracts significant amounts of resources from
Local help is key in initial days; outside help brings additional supplies
Outside help is the primary source of
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
PHOTO: TAYLOR TOEKA/CARITAS GOMA
networks such as
assistance to Congolese
residents displaced by
war—are well-suited to
respond to emergency
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
to lead the civic society and to organize aid efforts.
The material capacity to respond is likely to be
severely compromised—local inventories of critical
supplies are usually destroyed or out of reach, and
the companies that manage local supply chains for
critical supplies are unable to function. Moreover, the
demands for the impacted population and for the
response itself are much more intense than after a
disaster; as a result, the local civic society cannot
provide the first wave of resources.
Manning the Distribution
The most challenging component in the response to
a catastrophic event is the local distribution of critical supplies at the points of distribution (PODs). This
activity is relatively simple in disasters but in catastrophes is hugely complex, because of the large geographic areas to be served; the large number of PODs
to be established, manned, and supplied; and the
severe impacts on the transportation and distribution networks (11).
In the immediate aftermath of the Port-au-Prince
earthquake, for example, manning and supplying the
150 to 200 PODs required 20,000 to 25,000 volunteers—approximately the size of an average U.S.
Army division, which needs three to four weeks to
deploy. In catastrophes that have an impact on large
urban areas, therefore, the resources to man and supply the PODs cannot be provided by outside sources;
only the local social networks can address the monumental challenge.
Lesson 2. Control material
convergence and precautionary or
Material convergence—the spontaneous flow of supplies, donations, and equipment to the disaster area—
is a unique, overlooked, and poorly understood
phenomenon (3, 11, 12). The convergence contributes much-needed supplies, along with an astronomical amount of useless and inappropriate items,
such as wedding gowns, used clothing, expired medications, and a range of products that have failed in
Material convergence comprises three groupings
1. High-priority supplies for immediate distribution and consumption,
2. Low-priority supplies that are not immediately
needed but could be useful later, and
3. Nonpriority supplies that are not of any practical use.
Nonpriority items often are termed “in kind” and
“unsolicited” donations, but in-kind and unsolicited
donations can be useful; a large portion of the international aid that arrived at Haiti was both in-kind and
unsolicited, as international donors sent critical supplies without being asked by the Haitian government.
The impacts and problems associated with material convergence were first identified almost a century
ago (3, 11, 12). Recent rough estimates indicate that
disaster, the private sector should be engaged to facilitate these procedures.
about 5 to 15 percent of the cargo arriving at the site
consists of high-priority supplies, about 25 to 35 percent are low-priority supplies, and nonpriority supplies make up a staggering 50 to 70 percent.
Lesson 3. Integrate the civic society
in disaster preparation and
Controlling Nonpriority Supplies
The flow of nonpriority supplies is the most problematic component of material convergence. Nonpriority supplies consume resources that could be
applied to more important tasks, create major complications to the response, and offer little to help the
survivors or the response. Disaster responders refer to
the flow of useless, nonpriority goods as “a secondtier disaster” (14). These supplies “often complicate
unnecessarily the logistics of relief operations,” “frequently… have not been asked for,” “do not respond
to the needs of the affected population,” “lead to a
waste of time and resources,” “are useless or irrelevant,” and “should be discarded as soon as possible…to make room for useful supplies” (3, 11, 13).
Research suggests that the media’s portrayal of
needs—mostly subjective and based on what is considered newsworthy—can generate nonpriority supplies (3). Moreover, vehicles carrying nonpriority
supplies can clog the entry points to the area and
usually require longer inspection times because of
poor documentation. These vehicles often do not
have a consignee and circulate until locating someone
willing to receive the cargo; failing that, some drivers
may dump the loads, creating health hazards.
Young residents of a
temporary camp in
Léogâne, Haiti, distribute
water from a truck. The
United Nations created a
registry of local truckers
in Haiti to implement the
efficient flow of aid and
UNITED NATIONS PHOTO
Tapping into Networks
After the Port-au-Prince earthquake, large and experienced international organizations had problems distributing critical supplies to survivors. The massive
amount of aid that arrived in Haiti piled up at the port
and airport and did not reach the population in need
with the speediness required by the circumstances.
Even the United Nations was unable to find trucks to
transport supplies (4).
This crisis of connectivity started when the earthquake effectively decapitated the local leadership.
When the massive flow of aid arrived in Haiti, the
international relief groups could not connect with
local leaders. Without the leaders’ connections to
local truckers and social networks, the relief groups
attempted to distribute the supplies themselves, but
because of personnel constraints, the agencies could
open far fewer PODs than were needed to serve nearly
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
Proactive steps are needed to increase the net benefits from material convergence by maximizing highand low-priority flows and minimizing the negative
impacts of nonpriority supplies. Disaster plans should
explicitly consider material convergence—this is a
critical first step. Second, strategies must be developed to reduce nonpriority flows. This may require
education efforts aimed at potential donors, the
media, and local leaders (15). Access controls should
expedite the traffic of high-priority supplies, reroute
low-priority supplies to storage locations, and prevent
nonpriority supplies from reaching the affected area
(2, 3, 11).
Precautionary or opportunistic buying is another
behavior that affects disaster response, particularly
in surrounding areas. Anticipating shortages, individuals and businesses rush to purchase critical supplies of food, water, fuel, and electricity generators.
This removes from the market critical supplies that
are best positioned—in terms of proximity—to help
the survivors and the response itself. Rationing of
critical supplies or other forms of demand management would be beneficial to the response. Before a
Effectively integrating the civic society into all facets
of the disaster cycle, particularly in the preparation
and response, is probably the most important lesson.
Examples from Haiti and Japan illustrate this critical
2 million beneficiaries. The crisis subsided two weeks
later, when the United Nations created a registry of
local truckers, opening access to local equipment,
personnel, and know-how.
Collaborative aid networks (CANs) were able to
put in place efficient and effective PD-HL operations.
CANs are large social networks established for other
purposes; two notable CANs in the Haiti relief efforts
were the Servicio Social de Iglesias and CARE–
Caritas RD, the social arms of the evangelical and the
Catholic churches, respectively.
The CANs were able to undertake PD-HL with
efficiency and ease, through large networks of committed volunteers already on the ground. Haiti and
the Dominican Republic have an estimated 30,000
Catholic and evangelical churches; each church, a
node in the larger network, has a leader and followers with strong connections to the rest of the CAN,
Moreover, because the CANs are spread out in the
disaster area, they are ideally positioned to become
the backbone of the local distribution effort. Intuitively, the leaders understood this, mobilized their
networks, and used many of the churches as PODs,
organizing the local population and the PD-HL effort
The response to the Tohoku tsunami provides important lessons in integration with the private sector.
The PD-HL operations after the tsunami did not go
well. The nuclear crisis consumed almost all of the
government’s attention while the humanitarian crisis
The PD-HL operation started almost a week late,
after members of parliament angrily complained; the
government asked the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to
distribute critical supplies to survivors. The government refused offers of assistance from several privatesector companies, however, citing a lack of fuel for the
return trips—although the SDF could have brought
in fuel for this purpose.
Meanwhile, the commercial supply chains that
routinely transported supplies to the impacted and
surrounding areas followed usual procedures after
a disaster and stopped deliveries until conditions
could be assessed; this deprived both areas of
much-needed supplies and aggravated the humanitarian crisis. At this critical juncture, a few food
and retail companies ignored the warnings and took
the initiative to deploy hundreds of trucks loaded
with food, water, and other supplies to avert the
This example provides a potent argument for
effectively integrating private-sector input and
resources in PD-HL preparations and response procedures. Private-sector companies produce and transport supplies, own transportation assets, and have
the local knowhow that can make a difference in the
aftermath of a large disaster or catastrophe.
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
PHOTO: MATTHEW BRADLEY, U.S. NAVY
A Japan Maritime SelfDefense Force (SDF) sailor
participates in cleanup
efforts after the Tohoku
tsunami. Exclusive SDF
efforts faltered until
supplemented by privatesector initiatives.
TABLE 2 Key Findings and Policy Implications (17)
Integration with civic society
• Lack of pre-established links
prevents the advantageous
involvement of private sector,
CANs, and the rest of civic society
• Lack of designated leaders of
PD-HL produces confusion and
• Difficulties integrating outside
help lead to major coordination
problems, duplicated efforts, and
• Lack of training and of realistic
exercises fails to involve the civic
• Integrate private-sector groups,
reputable CANs, and other key
groups that could contribute to a
• Designate a point of contact for
PD-HL with good relations within
the civic society
• Facilitate the integration of
outside help—for example, divide
the area into small districts to be
assigned to outside groups
• Develop exercises to train
potential participants in PD-HL
• Usually not suitable for large
• Do not consider catastrophes
• Operations listed in plans are not
• Do not explicitly consider PD-HL
• Consider multiple scenarios for
catastrophic events covering
• Design scalable response functions
• Plan PD-HL operations in detail
Relief distribution and donations
• In catastrophes, the bulk of
supplies must be brought from
outside the disaster area
• Local distribution is a major
• Critical resources, such as fuel, are
• Excessive donations of low- and
nonpriority supplies create
• Precautionary or opportunistic
buying is a major challenge
• Preposition supplies in lower-risk
but nearby areas
• Plan for local distribution
• Ensure resources are available
• Proactively engage the media to
advise the public on how to help;
make plans to control access to
the disaster area
• Proactively manage donations
• Control precautionary or opportunistic buying via rationing or
educational campaigns and agreements with private sector
Assessment and communication
• Lack of technologies to assess
damage to infrastructure and
impacts on population
• Lack of communication and other
supporting systems that operate
in disaster environments
• Use satellite imagery, remote
sensing, and geographic information systems for infrastructure
• Preposition communication equipment, such as satellite phones and
PODs, training local leaders and members in first
aid and disaster response procedures, and the like,
could lead to a better prepared citizenry, enhanced
community resiliency, and a more efficient PD-HL
Similarly, private-sector representatives could be
engaged as part of a PD-HL committee, which would
be activated as needed. Their know-how, contacts,
and resources could make a critical difference to the
populations affected by a large disaster. Companies
involved in the trade of critical supplies with both a
regional and a local presence are best positioned to
help, as they have access to regional resources and
know local conditions.
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
Integrating Key Segments
The experiences of Haiti and Japan underscore the
benefits of integrating key segments of the civic society into disaster preparations and response procedures. In both cases, elements of the civic society
stepped up to fulfill a need without any instructions
or clear idea about how to proceed, without coordination with the public sector, and without practice
The efficiency of PD-HL operations after catastrophic events could increase greatly with a structure that incorporates participation by various
components of the civic society. Such simple steps as
designating local nodes from the CANs to serve as
PHOTO: LIZ ROLL, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
In the aftermath of
Hurricane Sandy, the
New York–New Jersey
region received far more
donated clothing than
was needed; many
months after the storm,
piles of clothes still
waited to be sorted.
Jurisdictions at risk of catastrophic events must take
appropriate actions to implement the guidelines in
the National Response Framework and to enhance
readiness. FEMA’s grants to foster planning for catastrophic events are a worthy first step (16). Table 2
(page 9) summarizes the chief findings of the
authors’ research encompassing several disasters,
along with the key policy implications.
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
The research was funded through several National
Science Foundation projects: Contending with
Materiel Convergence (NSF-HSD/DRU 0624083);
Field Investigation on the Comparative Performance
of Alternative Humanitarian Logistic Structures
(NSF-RAPID 1034365); Field Investigation on Postdisaster Humanitarian Logistic Practices Under Cascading Disasters and a Persistent Threat: The Tohoku
Earthquake Disasters (NSF-RAPID); and CyberEnabled Discovery System for Advanced Multidisciplinary Study of Humanitarian Logistics for Disaster
Response (NSF-IIS 1124827). The authors acknowledge and appreciate this support.
Holguín-Veras, J., N. Pérez, S. Ukkusuri, T. Wachtendorf,
and B. Brown. Emergency Logistics Issues Affecting the
Response to Katrina: A Synthesis and Preliminary Suggestions for Improvement. In Transportation Research
Record: Journal of the Transportration Research Board, No.
2022, Transportation Research Board of the National
Academies, Washington, D.C., 2007, pp. 76–82.
Holguín-Veras, J., M. Jaller, L. N. V. Wassenhove, N. Pérez,
and T. Wachtendorf. On the Unique Features of Post-Disaster Humanitarian Logistics. Journal of Management, Vol.
30, No. 2012, pp. 494–506.
Holguín-Veras, J., M. Jaller, L. Van Wassenhove, N. Pérez,
and T. Wachtendorf. Material Convergence: An Important
and Understudied Disaster Phenomenon. Natural Hazards Review, 2013.
Holguín-Veras, J., M. Jaller, and T. Wachtendorf. Comparative Performance of Alternative Humanitarian Logistic Structures After the Port-au-Prince Earthquake: ACEs,
PIEs, and CANs. Transportation Research Part A: Policy
and Practice, Vol. 46, No. 10, 2012, pp. 1623–1640.
Holguín-Veras, J., E. Taniguchi, F. Ferreira, M. Jaller, and
R. Thompson. The Tohoku Disasters: Preliminary Findings Concerning the Post-Disaster Humanitarian Logistics
Response. Presented at 91st Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C. January
Holguín-Veras, J., E. Taniguchi, F. Ferreira, M. Jaller, F.
Aros-Vera, and R. Thompson. The Tohoku Disasters:
Chief Findings Concerning the Post Disaster Humanitarian Logistic Response. Transportation Research Part E:
Logistics and Transportation Review (in preparation), 2013.
Hazards, Disasters, and the U.S. Emergency Management
System: An Introduction. Federal Emergency Management
Pearce, L. D. R. An Integrated Approach for Community
Hazard, Impact, Risk and Vulnerability Analysis: HIRV.
School of Community and Regional Planning, University
of British Columbia, Canada, 2000.
Wachtendorf, T., B. Brown, and J. Holguin-Veras. Catastrophe Characteristics and Their Impact on Critical Supply Chains: Problematizing Material Convergence and
Management Following Hurricane Katrina. 2010.
National Response Framework. Federal Emergency Management Agency. www.fema.gov/national-response-frame
Jaller, M. Resource Allocation Problems During Disasters:
The Cases of Points of Distribution Planning and Material Convergence Handling. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
Troy, New York, 2011.
Fritz, C. E., and J. H. Mathewson. Convergent Behavior: A
Disaster Control Problem. Special Report for the Committee on Disaster Studies, National Academy of Sciences,
Washington, D.C., 1957.
Humanitarian Supply Management and Logistics in the
Health Sector. Pan American Health Organization, 2001.
$75 Million of Stuff. Newsweek, February 18, 2002.
Guidelines for Effective International Disaster Donations.
Center for International Disaster Information. www.cidi.
National Preparedness Grant Program. Federal Emergency
Management Agency. www.fema.gov/pdf/government/
Holguín-Veras, J., E. Taniguchi, F. Ferreira, M. Jaller, and
R. Thompson. The Tohoku Disasters: Chief Findings Concerning the Post-Disaster Humanitarian Logistic
Humanitarian Relief and Broken Supply Chains
Advancing Logistics Performance
J O H N T. ( J O C K ) M E N Z I E S I I I * A N D O M A R ( K E I T H ) H E L F E R I C H
Menzies is President,
American Logistics Aid
Maryland. Helferich is
Professor, Supply Chain
demand for humanitarian assistance will continue to
rise because of conflicts and a dramatic increase in
vulnerabilities caused by financial crises, food
scarcity and pricing, insufficient energy and water,
and the increased severity of disasters—in part the
result of population growth and urbanization.
Emergency relief comprises a spectrum of interventions. The services provided during relief operations recognize the basic hierarchy of needs for
survival, including medicines, food, water, shelter,
clothing, and—in many situations—mental health
Emergency relief practices also can be examined
from the viewpoint of continuity management. Table
1 (next page) reviews the process for continuity management, described in a white paper produced for the
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
after the September 11, 2001 (9/11), terrorist attacks.
The timely delivery of goods and services is crucial
to effective disaster response. In addition to Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, recent examples
include the 2004 Asian tsunami; the 2009 earthUN PHOTO
*Publisher’s Note: John
(Jock) Menzies III died
August 17, 2013, after
injuries in a cable car
accident near Arnold,
Maryland. An article in
the online DC Velocity
noted that Menzies had
“transformed the way the
relief organizations, and
individuals respond to
natural disasters around
atural and human-made disasters inflict terrible casualties, destroy property, and disrupt the normal flow of life and commerce.
The Haiti earthquake of 2010, for example, took the
lives of an estimated 220,000 people. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina resulted in 1,836 deaths and damage
in excess of $100 billion in the United States. Superstorm Sandy this past October again made clear that
extreme events are likely to cause supply chain failures such as shortages of transport, facilities, and
On December 14, 2012, the Supply Chain
Resilience Project of the Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program conducted a strategic
capacity exercise in Washington D.C. The tabletop
evaluation confirmed the potential for supply chain
failures as a result of a major disaster event and highlighted the probable failure of the water and wastewater network; noted that the damage to transport
capability, coupled with hoarding, would suppress
food resupply; and indicated that hoarding and
unanticipated demand would severely affect the supply of pharmaceuticals.
According to the United Nations, the global
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
Sudanese war refugees
receive emergency food
aid distributed by the
World Food Programme.
According to the United
Nations, the global need
assistance will continue
TABLE 1 First Four Steps in Each Phase of Humanitarian Logistics Relief
1. Establish planning
1. Define mitigation
1. Develop a detection plan.
1. Review and implement a
2. Analyze capabilities
2. Develop mitigation plans.
1. Review and implement
recovery plans and
3. Develop charter and
4. Implement relief plan.
Members of the U.S. Air
Force 353rd Special
Operations Group and of
the Indonesian Air Force
unload relief supplies
after a 7.6 magnitude
earthquake in Padang,
Indonesia, in 2009.
3. Initiate development of
4. Establish a continuous
2. Acknowledge major risks
3. Evaluate and act on
4. Determine corrective
actions and improvements.
2. Evaluate direction and
3. Evaluate communications.
3. Maintain worker and
4. Evaluate safety, security
and function of processes,
property, and people.
4. Resume sustainable
These trends intensify distinctive weaknesses in
the humanitarian supply chain, such as decoupled
finances, ambiguous objectives, limited resources,
high uncertainty, extreme urgency, and political
Commercial supply chains are also becoming
more vulnerable through changes in business best
practices, such as lean initiatives to support just-intime deliveries, as well as through increased complexity and globalization. Most private-sector
companies develop plans to protect against lowimpact, recurrent risks but ignore high-impact, lowlikelihood risks. Humanitarian organizations, in
contrast, must face high-impact, low-likelihood risks
somewhere every day; nevertheless, they rely on
commercial supply chains to provide much of their
quakes in Padang, Indonesia; the 2011 earthquake,
tsunami, and nuclear power plant event in Japan;
and the 2011 flooding in Thailand.
Field research has estimated that logistics account
for 60 percent to 80 percent of expenditures by aid
agencies. All of the stakeholders in a relief operation—donors, humanitarian relief organizations,
governments, local nongovernmental organizations
(NGOs), the military, and the private sector—are
connected by a relatively fragile supply chain. The
challenge is to create a flexible and adaptive supply
chain for humanitarian relief in an increasingly
More complex disasters will require significantly
enhanced responses. First, as societies become more
interdependent, the supply networks become more
complex and vulnerable. Second, the accelerating rate
of advances in technology introduces unprecedented
and unanticipated opportunities to interfere with
human life, as through terrorist acts. Third, global
power shifts and conflicts generate new threats.
Exploring the Vulnerabilities
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
PHOTO: AARON CRAM, U.S. AIR FORCE
2. Ensure continuity of
In the United States, relief agencies have been
redesigning their processes continuously to improve
performance. The Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross (ARC)
study and strive to implement appropriate supply
network models and system solutions. The complexity and uncertainty of the events, however, challenge these preparations, as do the lack of human
and financial resources for the supply chains.
Funding is usually decoupled from the response
to an event; this can curtail swift humanitarian
response. Funding systems and financial flows play
an important role in humanitarian operations and
affect the scope, speed, effectiveness, and efficiency
of disaster response. Models of humanitarian supply
chains often do not consider the constraints
imposed by funding systems; when time is of the
essence, a relief agency does not expect to be asked,
“Who is paying for this?” or to be told, “First send
The complexity of the situation—such as the
magnitude of the event, the level of the threat to life,
the impact on the infrastructure, the difficulty of
The humanitarian community generally agrees that
its logistics lag behind those of the commercial
sector. Commercial and humanitarian logistics networks have many similarities; both do the following:
u Operate within complex networks and require
u Manage rapid-response and demand-driven
u Rely on collaboration and information-sharing
to enhance agile response,
u Follow established processes for effective solutions,
u Address risk with a redundancy of resources,
u Improve flexibility through the principle of
postponement—meeting needs with a minimum
amount of inventory—and through the deployment
of multiple skills.
first responders can aid
coordination between the
many groups on the scene
of a disaster.
City Island in the Bronx,
New York, was placed
under a mandatory evacuation order during Superstorm Sandy. Agencies
must be able to deploy
such as mass evacuations,
on short notice.
PHOTO: MTA NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
After the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, many
thought that an industry team could apply best practices and provide more effective and efficient preparation and response to major disasters. A team of
representatives from several major corporations held
discussions with NGOs and reviewed the challenges
after a major disaster; the team concluded that industry alone could not supply the solution for disaster
logistics response practices—a collaborative effort
Humanitarian supply chains must be capable of
launching a variety of services appropriate to the
type of incident, with a potentially wide scope. NGOs
and federal agencies prepare for disaster response
during the year, but when a disaster occurs, the
response must be immediate and must allow for
large-scale operations in a relatively short time.
Maximum responsiveness—flexibility and agility—includes a capability to respond quickly to a
range of needs for human resources, as well as for
supplies and equipment. In all major disasters, the
quick establishment of communications systems is
PHOTO: NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION
critical. The responding organizations must maintain internal communications and must link to the
incident command center, as well as to all major
For example, ARC’s Disaster System for Human
Resources can contact thousands of volunteers
trained in various skills at differing levels at any time.
During hurricane and high-alert periods, ARC’s
Advanced Logistics Emergency Response Teams or
ALERTs are on call and ready to respond to the ARC
national center within a few hours.
communications, or the stage of the event—may
yield ambiguous objectives. Limited resources hamper assessments of the needs, as well as the ability to
obtain the appropriate types and amounts of equipment and materials for search and rescue and for
survival and recovery. Communications between the
first responders are not always effective; this delays
coordination among the many organizations on the
scene that are ready to provide assistance.
The environment after a major disaster is usually
rife with uncertainty about the status of the damage,
even after the initial damage assessment. The
urgency is acute for major events that require immediate search and rescue, encompassing basic survival
needs such as triage and medical treatment, movement out of harm’s way, and supply of water and
food. Addressing these needs takes priority, with considerations of cost and resource efficiency secondary
until the next stage of the relief effort. Reviewing
awareness of the situation is critical at each phase of
relief, because the priorities shift with the transitions
from initial response to recovery.
A major event, by definition, involves multiple
political boundaries. The challenges are obvious
when a response effort spans countries, but can be
complex even across county and parish boundaries—as was the case in the United States following
Hurricane Katrina. The response to recent disasters
continues to raise questions about the appropriate
roles of business, government, and NGOs in supplying resources.
PHOTO: JASON COLSTON, AMERICAN RED CROSS
Red Cross volunteers
coordinate logistics of
relief efforts in Queens,
New York, immediately
Research and experience, however, point to critical differences in the two types of networks, as presented in Table 2 (below).
The complexity of humanitarian disaster planning and response inevitably results in inefficient
logistics and supply chain management. Nearly 30
percent of delivered materials are reported as wasted
during a response to a disaster. Damaged infrastructure and the intermittent availability of electricity
complicate local planning and the coordination of
aid. As a result, relief efforts predicated on advanced
methods and high-tech approaches may be ineffective during the initial hours after a disaster.
Advancing Humanitarian Logistics
Experience and findings from the literature and
research indicate several areas of opportunities for
the continuous improvement of humanitarian
logistics. The similarities between commercial
and humanitarian logistics suggest the value of
increased collaborative efforts; the differences
suggest that advances in humanitarian logistics
cannot be achieved by adopting best commercial
Moreover, disaster relief and development require
greater coordination with supply chain risk management and risk reduction planning and prepared-
TABLE 2 Commercial and Humanitarian Logistics: A Comparison
Profit for stakeholders
Provide essential services to affected recipients
Economic value added and balanced
scorecard: cost, speed, quality, customer
service, flexibility, sustainability
• Not well recognized; focus mostly on outputs instead of on outcomes from
• Generally defined processes to achieve
efficiency and effectiveness
• Less certainty and less definition of processes
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
• Operate on continuum from initial
decision, development, implementation,
and operation of network; lean practices
• Shift with phases of event: during initial response, life-saving and support
services are key, cost is secondary; during recovery operations, costefficiency gains importance
• Focus on humanitarian aid recipients—life saving and life support are
initial priorities; costs become more of a concern in recovery phase
• Space for humanitarian efforts is often less available, because of the
number of areas of need
Direct link between financial and material
Financial and material flows are decoupled; identity of true customers is
Assess risk through continuity planning;
highest risk usually is the disruption of the
global supply chain
Frequently the greatest risk is the “last mile,” serving the recipient most
affected by the disruption; failure can result in loss of life and prolonged
Decisions under risk are likely, but usually
with range of estimated certainty
• All segments of supply chain operate under uncertainty in disaster
situations, demand frequently exceeds supply and capability—for example
for food, water, transport, warehouse space, and communications
• Demand and supply can change quickly—as with Hurricane Katrina,
Superstorm Sandy, and Japan tsunami
Initiatives include planning for logistics assets Finding assets in and near the impact area is frequently difficult; nonprofit
American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) assists nongovernmental
organizations to locate assets
Alert for logistics
Initiatives base need on an approved plan
• Some disaster events such as hurricanes allow a few days for planning, but
sometimes only hours or, in the case of tornadoes, a few minutes; often no
alerts for intentional acts of destruction
• Disaster logistics must be able to respond in “organized chaos” with little
or no advance warning
ness during nondisaster periods. Table 3 (below)
summarizes areas for research and initiatives to
advance the state of humanitarian logistics.
Research is needed for the distribution planning and
the control of humanitarian logistics processes. In
particular, accessible planning techniques are needed
for relief workers confronting a disaster.
Disaster planning and response take place in a
limited environment. An initial response may
demand a basic, low-tech approach with planning
techniques that complement other high- and lowtech tactics and that are relatively easy for inexperienced individuals to employ until additional
resources become available. Research suggests that
tools that are less resource-dependent are available to
facilitate on-site planning and response.
For example, a managerial approach known as
Lean Six Sigma (LSS), developed in 2002, includes
planning and response tools that could be applied to
disaster relief. LSS tools can assist organizations in
becoming effective and resilient in supply chain management and therefore could assist in resolving the
challenges of humanitarian logistics.
Applying LSS system tools appears to be practical
and useful in disaster response, with proper planning
and preparedness. LSS offers two major methodologies:
1. Define, measure, analyze, improve, and control
(DMAIC), which parallels the Deming cycle of plan,
do, check, and act and is used for improving
processes already in place; and
2. Define, measure, analyze, design, and validate,
a method for designing new processes.
Interest in using these methods to design and
plan critical services such as logistics is increasing.
Few studies, however, have connected LSS methods
with humanitarian logistics. The sidebar on page 17
provides the results of an application of LSS contin-
TABLE 3 Potential Improvements to Disaster Logistics Management
Description of Improvement
• Develop metrics focused on outcomes; for example, percentage of items reaching beneficiaries, donation-todelivery cycle time, and financial efficiency and cost of providing goods to beneficiaries.
• Develop longitudinal metrics for sustainable solutions; for example, metrics addressing quality of life, such as
longitudinal profiles of family health; social and economic metrics from the medical and social sciences.
• Apply balanced scorecard approach for outputs and outcomes.
• Adopt end-to-end and real-time information management systems.
• Address the difficulty field workers have in gathering accurate information while working under time pressures
and in extreme circumstances.
• Implement process standardization and pipeline visibility; American Red Cross has a system for all human resources
and a system for procurement.
• Develop standard process mapping across the supply chain to eliminate delays and errors in the order cycle.
• Establish corporate social responsibility programs to involve the private sector.
• Explore crowd sourcing as an emerging opportunity.
• Integrate geographic information systems tools with crowd sourcing to increase visibility and situational
Disaster continuous process • Apply CPI to improve project efficiency and effectiveness; promising applications include chapter logistics planning,
improvement (CPI) using
collaboration among Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, and balanced scorecard metrics.
Lean Six Sigma (LSS)
• Use LSS tools in generating plans, implementing process improvements, setting priorities, and assessing risks.
• Apply CPI to ensure the flow of funding and voluntary efforts to sustain humanitarian initiatives.
• Develop information technology and systems for in-field transactions and tracking across a complex, humanitarian
supply network; investigate use of a private-sector system, with costs shared by the response community.
• Maintain a knowledge base for disaster response, to be shared among responding agencies and organizations.
• Address problem of limited resources—for transport, handling, and storage—by coordinating through
organizations like ALAN, as appropriate.
• Consider working with faith-based and other organizations that have facilities for feeding and sheltering, as well
as trained staff and volunteers, and formal members of the primary disaster NGOs’ response and recovery team.
• Collaborate with FEMA and commercial organizations such as logistics companies for special transport and
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
FIGURE 1 Humanitarian
relief: example causeand-effect diagram.
(SOPs = standard
did not follow SOPs
used contaminated sources
Poor knowledge of locations, operations
Damaged storage tank
Slow time in transit
No mode of transport
Poor travel conditions
Water not suitable
contamination (chemical, metal)
Failure to Achieve Objectives (e.g.,
missed delivery, shortage of safe
water, unsustainable operation)
Remote delivery location
Improper water SOPs
uous improvement models to a humanitarian initiative providing clean water to poverty-level families in
the Dominican Republic. The pilot used several LSS
tools, including DMAIC, cause-and-effect diagrams,
checklists, process flow charts, control plans, activity networks, and audit guides. Figure 1 (above) and
Table 4 (below) present examples of Six Sigma methods applied to a humanitarian initiative.
Achieving Best Practices
As noted earlier, humanitarian supply chains lag
behind the private sector in technology implementation, best practices, and operating efficiency. Inherent differences account for some of this lag, but
humanitarian logistics decision makers either have
not yet recognized the importance of newly introduced tools and approaches or—more likely—lack
the staff and financial resources for implementation.
The lack of standardized or universally accepted
metrics also hurts humanitarian organizations, as
they have difficulty knowing their finances to the
degree of granularity that their commercial counterparts have achieved. This limitation affects the entire
humanitarian supply chain—how the operations are
managed, controlled, and continuously improved.
Humanitarian logistics is a fertile area for process
improvement with LSS and related tools.
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
TABLE 4 Example Failure Modes and Effects Analysis for Humanitarian Relief
Process Function Potential
Potential Effect of
Smell, sickness, and Contamination; poor water None
Potential Causes and
Mechanisms of Failure
• Filter the water; improve
quality control of water
• Invest in treatment facility
or filter devices
Store water for
No storage or • Supply of water
but no space
• Scarcity, loss, or
• Damaged or destroyed
storage structures or
• Leaks, theft
• Use an open well and
• Guard or monitor the
• Use inexpensive filter and
• No cover or protection
• Sickness, disease
Missed delivery Water shortage
• Impassable routes
• Transport unavailable
• Build or acquire water
storage tank for the
community or for
Delivery by truck
Change delivery mode (e.g., to
cart and horse, pipeline, air
Humanitarian Clean Water Initiative in the Dominican Republic
Summary of a Sustainability Pilot
J O H N T. ( J O C K ) M E N Z I E S I I I A N D O M A R ( K E I T H ) H E L F E R I C H
through proper installation and maintenance training;
u Measurable medical, educational, economic, and social
improvements in recipient households; and
u Stakeholder collaboration to improve products and services.
The project provided a biosand filter for safe water to
households in the region of La Romana in the Dominican
Republic. The CPI method followed the typical Six Sigma or
Deming cycle process.
Define and plan. Deliverables at the first stage included
the project charter, the project plan, a process chart for the initiatives, and a template for achieving continuous improvement for clean water initiatives.
Measure and do. Deliverables included the following:
u Write protocols for the clean water procedures.
u Develop, test, redesign, and translate into Spanish the
Analyze and check. The tools were used to guide activities
and collect information about performance:
u Evaluation of electronic versus paper surveys for primary
Initiatives to provide safe water to developing countries can
benefit from continuous process improvement.
u Review of the filter performance after six months;
u Review of the impact of clean water on family profiles:
health, education, economics, and community; and
u Identifying issues for further development, using a causeand-effect diagram.
Results indicated that more than 90 percent of the filters
maintained flow rates in the target range of 500 milliliters (ml)
to 800 ml per minute. Medical incidents declined during the
six months after the use of the clean water, and the number
of school days missed also declined. Some discontinued the
program because the water tasted salty, or they did not trust
the technology, or they believed the water was not suitable
for very young children.
Improve, act, and control to achieve sustainable process
u Guidelines for installation and performance audits need
to be simplified further and completed in Spanish.
u A checklist for the ongoing use of CPI methods for clean
water iniatives will be provided to the primary stakeholders.
The methods met the steps and objectives of the World
Health Organization–UNICEF Report for Monitoring and Evaluating Household Water Treatment 2012. The most successful
results were in areas with a resident paid to check on
households, answer questions, resolve minor maintenance
issues, and report to the primary stakeholder each month.
The authors thank key stakeholders for their support of the pilot sustainability initiative, including Good Samaritan Hospital, the Safe
Water Team, Wolverine Worldwide, Cascade Engineering, Universidad
Central del Este, and Supply Chain Sustainability.
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
surveys and guidelines for installation, baseline household
health, education, economic and community activity, and a sixmonth follow-up.
u Collect and analyze data with Survey Monkey and
Microsoft Excel to demonstrate sustainability.
u Install filters in households, conduct surveys, and enter
the data into Survey Monkey.
u Conduct surveys of filter locations after six months of
operation to determine the impact on family profiles—health,
education, economics, and community activity.
u Long-term, in-field availability of products and services
PHOTO: LIVING WATER INTERNATIONAL,
umanitarian relief has broadened its focus from particular response situations to the strategic—that is, how best
to operate a sustainable network. Many corporations build a
culture of sustainability by establishing standards of performance and implementing continuous process improvement
(CPI). CPI was applied in the support of a humanitarian initiative to provide safe water in the bateys—the sugar mill company towns—of the Dominican Republic. The goals were to
improve project efficiency and effectiveness, ensure funding
flow, and stimulate voluntary efforts to sustain the project
throughout its expected span.
CPI provided the following benefits:
Building Resilience in Community Recovery
Overcoming Supply Chain Performance Challenges in a Crisis
The author is Deputy
Office of Emergency
t the local level, the traditional approach to
resource management for recovery from a
disaster has addressed private businesses in
a conversation that begins “Here’s what you can do
for us.” But this government-centered approach to
emergency planning has an inherent weakness—it
focuses on resource management as an inventory
In contrast, approaching disaster recovery
resource management as a supply chain issue focuses
on the delivery of critical supplies to citizens more
quickly and more efficiently. With this approach,
local government initiates the conversation with private businesses by asking, “How can we clear the way
for the delivery of emergency resources?”
Businesses already have the expertise and
processes in place to move supplies into the community; they are the experts in recovery and continuity. The types of supplies that are needed may
change depending on the effects of the disaster, but
the delivery and distribution challenges remain consistent. The goal is to enable a fast, smooth transition
from the supply chain’s normal, cost-efficient function to the life-saving focus needed in a crisis.
Timing is the most important component of any
local government’s approach to disaster planning.
Plans for supply chain involvement must be in place
well before an emergency occurs. Government must
stand ready to clear the way for private businesses to
deliver disaster recovery resources quickly and efficiently, so that lives and businesses can return to
Resource Management Lessons
The middle of an emergency is too late to start planning—the need is for doing. The current approach to
recovery resource management therefore is not
working. In this context, the following observations
u During the period when response is the priority, the delivery of short-term recovery resources into
the community will experience delay at some point.
If short-term recovery could start immediately, the
right supplies could already be on the way during the
u The private sector and the nonprofit sector are
participants, whether invited or not. Local emer-
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
PHOTO: ANDREA BOOHER, FEMA
North Dakota residents
prepare for flooding of
the Souris River. A plan
for implementing a
supply chain approach is
necessary before an
although businesses have
inventory, delivery and
PHOTO: JOCELYN AUGUSTINO, FEMA
Federal, state, local, and
agencies at the City of
San Antonio and Bexar
Operations Center in
activities in preparation
for Hurricane Ike in 2008.
housing. Shifting to a supply chain model introduces
adaptability, which allows the delivery of recovery
resources to be preplanned and managed, from point
A to point B.
u The for-profit supply delivery systems actively
intersect with the nonprofit services at work in the
community, daily delivering food, medical services
and supplies, water, and shelter—for example, food
chains donate nearly-out-of-date food to food
pantries every day. The new approach to recovery
resource management could leverage this point of
intersection and avoid reinventing a process that
These observations are true wherever a disaster
may occur. The concepts can be examined to determine what actions can be taken and what tools can
be designed to address the dilemmas of recovery
In Fiscal Year 2013, the Arlington County Office of
Emergency Management, on behalf of the Northern
Virginia Emergency Response System (NVERS),
began implementing a supply chain–focused partnership between local government and private businesses:
u Locations are being determined for the drop-off
and distribution of disaster recovery resources. By
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
gency managers therefore could work with both sectors before an event to prepare for and address regulatory and policy obstacles that may impede full and
successful participation. Emergency managers are
less available during the chaotic phase immediately
after a major event; therefore on-the-ground situational awareness could be established before an event
to allow the private and nonprofit sectors to operate
independently, efficiently, and effectively.
u When an incident disrupts normal operations,
the supply chain abruptly shifts into an emergency
mode, in which everything changes, including objectives, commodity flow, the balance of demand, decision-making procedures, the repetition of established
cycles, and the choices of supporting infrastructure.
The mechanics of these shifts can be examined in
developing new approaches (1).
u Community resiliency can be measured only
after an incident by the length and efficiency of the
recovery time. A resilient community will recover
faster and will return to the new normal more effectively than one that is not. Local emergency management therefore needs to make supply chain
resiliency a priority, not an after-the-fact solution.
u Recovery resource conversations have focused
on inventory and warehousing. Yet emergencies are
unpredictable; the needs, quantities, and affected
populations and locations vary; and the destruction
may affect the safe storage of resources, complicating
the preplanned deployment of inventory and ware-
Summit Explores Lessons from Supply Chains
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
n January 30–31, 2013, the Arlington County Office
of Emergency Management successfully completed
a two-day Local Supply Chain Capacity in a Crisis Summit
Exercise. The summit addressed a new approach to
improve disaster planning by working through the supply chain. With speakers and panelists from the public
and private sectors, as well as from nonprofits, program
discussions centered on the challenges and solutions
related to the development of a local
supply chain approach to disaster
U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad
Allen (retired) keynoted the first day’s
program. Panelists examined issues
that confront the transportation, communications, and power infrastrucThad Allen
tures in the delivery of resources for
community recovery. Presentations
focused on real-world experiences and
defined the critical components for
solutions addressing recovery challenges.
The keynote speaker on the second
day was Charley Shimanski, Senior Vice
President of Disaster Services for the
American Red Cross. Panelists examined supply chain issues in the delivery
of financial services, medical supplies, and other vital
resources. The presentations explored how to create a
successful supply chain solution that expedites the delivery and distribution of resources.
Charlotte Franklin, Deputy Coordinator of Arlington
County’s Office of Emergency Management, noted the
importance of understanding what happens in the supply chain when “normal” abruptly shifts to “emergency.”
“Supply chain modeling is more flexible and can
adapt more readily to supply-and-demand shifts that
occur when a disaster strikes,” Franklin observed. “The
goal is to develop salient, supply chain–focused recommendations and remedies for disaster resource planning.”
A report with recommendations for local supply
chain capacity has been published,a drawing on discussions from the summit, which was funded through the
Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program of
the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S.
Department of Homeland Security.
using the distribution paths already in place in every
community, resource providers and local governments can rely on food pantries, medical dispensing
sites, temporary shelters, and organizations such as
Goodwill and the Salvation Army to help receive and
distribute critical supplies and to help manage donations.
u A Public Recovery Resource Access Portal is in
development on the web, and a major project will
add map layers and expand usability across jurisdictions. The online resource provides real-time updates
to help businesses and the general public know
where to donate and receive supplies during a disaster. The portal design is easily adaptable to any jurisdiction. Funding is through an Urban Areas Security
Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA). Documentation to assist jurisdictions in developing their own public access portals
is in process through a grant from the Rockefeller
Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge.
u A Regional Catastrophic Resource Planning
Summit Exercise convened January 30–31, 2013, in
Arlington, Virginia (see sidebar at left). Participants
included grocers, retailers, supply chain experts, representatives from financial institutions and medical
suppliers, and stewards of the critical infrastructure
that supports their activities. Private-sector representatives, staff from Information Sharing and Analysis Centers1 (ISACs), and local emergency managers
worked together to develop tangible, before-theevent remedies that every community can apply to
mitigate the impact of a disaster on the distribution
and delivery of goods and services. Recommendations from the summit, which was funded by FEMA’s
Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program,
are available to all communities as a guide for a supply chain–focused approach to emergency preparedness.2
Risk and Flexibility
Almost all decisions incorporate uncertainty about
the future. The assessment of uncertainty and the
risk inherent in these decisions can be critical, especially in a disaster (2). Providing the real-time, granular information required for sense-and-respond
situational readiness can help assess risks when
information about future events or the effects of
events is incomplete and imprecise.
Risk analysis is the main tool for dealing with
uncertainties. Without proper information or the
able real-time information is provided in a trustworthy and useable format.
To determine the information that would be most
valuable to recovery resource providers immediately
following an emergency, a survey was sent to 30 professionals who deal with supply chain matters in
either normal or emergency operations. Recipients
were asked to identify from a list the real-time information items that would be most valuable for supply
chain continuity during a crisis. The survey results
showed that 93 percent to 100 percent of the respondents agreed about the value of the following realtime information:
u Transportation—specifically, detours, traffic
conditions, and bridge and road closures and access;
u Energy—specifically, power and electrical outages and mobile fuel supplies;
u Telecommunications—specifically, service disruptions and Internet access;
u Resource management—specifically, identification of resource needs, locations for drop-offs and
deliveries, and coordination with other providers;
u Infrastructure status, especially water conditions;
u Weather conditions; and
u Real-time situational awareness through the
local emergency operations center (EOC) and a
mode of interfacing with EOCs via real-time, electronic alert systems.
Of the respondents, 80 percent thought that
changes in regulations or policy would be useful.
Respondents also indicated that the following addi-
The Salvation Army and
other voluntary agencies
provide critical services in
emergency situations and
have already established
networks within the
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
Also important are intelligent and responsive tools to
anticipate and react quickly to changing demand.
Retailers and shippers need to sense and respond to
immediate increases in demand. With intelligent
tools that track product movement, such as radio
frequency identification (RFID), retailers can redirect
and reallocate products out of harm’s way and maintain profits even during an emergency.
These tools also provide visibility into product
shipments and cost structures. The visibility of the
exact location of products on individual trucks is
vital. A rerouted truck will need to arrive at multiple
destinations in the right order to facilitate efficient
unloading. Responsiveness tools help companies
anticipate demand changes and react intelligently in
Responsiveness entails the accurate anticipation
of changes in demand. In a natural disaster, demand
can spike and shift unpredictably—the time for reaction is razor-thin. Instead of forecasting from several
sources, a single point of demand can be established
to increase visibility and avoid wasting time in reconciling information from different divisions. Companies do this to respond quickly, scheduling the
necessary labor resources for the expected volume
increases and planning for the replenishment of
assets back through the supply chain.
This is how a supply chain responds to sudden
disruptions. But immediately after a disaster strikes,
what local information can be made available so that
inbound recovery resource providers are part of the
communication loop and do not make independent
decisions or search on their own for information
about what is happening? Adept use of sophisticated
information tools can help, but only if the most valu-
PHOTO: GEORGE ARMSTRONG, FEMA
ability to perform real-time monitoring, strategy and
risk analysis cannot be fine-tuned and complete for
making predictions. Risk is related to a lack of
knowledge about the future; the more information
available, the more is known and the less the risk.
Businesses achieve the flexibility needed during a
crisis by sharing key supply chain data with business
partners. Information transparency is critical in
providing visibility for product movement and
in understanding the impacts on operations. In a
weather-related emergency, a retailer is likely to face
disruptions in receiving products allocated to, from, or
through affected areas. Accurate product tracking and
visibility enhances the ability to locate products in the
supply chain at any time. The ability of retailers, carriers, and suppliers to access the same real-time tracking information can ensure that a product is rerouted
to a nearby facility or a forwarding location.
A District of Columbia
online planning tool
evacuation routes in a
Intelligent tools can
anticipate changes in
demand and make
tional real-time information was important for continuity during a crisis:
u Current threat status, criminal activities, and
u Central information and availability of data for
real-time mapping and information sharing; and
u Key points of contact at government agencies.
Probably the most valuable information captured
through the survey was the identification of challenges that confront private-sector supply chain
managers during a disruption that could be
addressed by emergency managers before an event,
facilitating the delivery of goods. The most effective
way emergency managers can partner with privatesector providers during an emergency is to share
information to develop mitigations and remedies to
the unique challenges in transitioning supply chains:
PHOTO: DHOMONIQUE RICKS, KOMU NEWS
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
Boone Electric Company
repairs power lines after
a storm in Columbia,
depends on close
cooperation with service
u The uncertain condition of the transportation
infrastructure compounds the challenges of meeting
the needs of disaster victims.
u With markets evolving toward flexible, lean
inventories, capacity is diminished, hampering the
market’s ability to deliver supplies to victims in a
u Stakeholders have a gap in knowledge and
skills; management tools and decision support systems need to be expanded, along with leadership
capabilities and situational awareness.
u Storage and warehousing dynamics are changing in normal operations, affecting the response to
needs that arise in an emergency.
u Communications capabilities continue to be
strained, but social media and portable communication devices are making significant progress in
improving what are termed common operating pictures—a single display of shared information.
u Legal and regulatory issues are changing in the
new environment of homeland security. Requirements for cross-sector and cross-jurisdiction interfaces are challenging regulatory environments built
Arlington County has been investigating the requirements for developing the first phase of a comprehensive private-sector resource information platform to
make the kinds of data described in this article available for any U.S. zip code. Many organizations have
been collecting these data, and much is already available to the public, although often not in open format.
Arlington County’s Public Recovery Resource Access
Portal is a beginning and will provide the public with
such vital information as which pharmacy is open and
eventually which ATMs are in service.
1. Holguín-Veras, J., N. Perez, M. Jaller, L. Destro, and T.
Wachtendorf. On the Need to Reformulate Humanitarian
Logistics Modeling: Deprivation Costs and Material Convergence. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York,
2. Valishevsky, A. Granular Information-Based Risk Analysis
in Uncertain Situations. University of Latvia, 2003.
3. Cashman, J. Bouncing Back When Disaster Strikes. Inbound
Logistics, August 2007. www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/
Disaster Resilience in America
ELIZABETH A. EIDE AND LAUREN ALEXANDER AUGUSTINE
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
For more information about
Disaster Resilience: A
National Imperative, published by National Academies Press, go to
atural disasters pose a mounting
threat to the economic and social
well-being of the United States.
The frequency and cost of disasters triggered by natural hazards have been rising
over the past several decades. In the
1980s, the United States experienced
approximately 50 natural disasters per
year, but in the past decade, the number
has tripled to approximately 170 per year.
Costs have risen, too, with disasters in
2011 causing more than $55 billion in
damage and the loss of nearly 600 lives.
That year, the unusual combination of a
rare East Coast earthquake, Hurricane The Bonnet Carré Spillway in New Orleans is a structural flood
Irene hitting the Mid-Atlantic, deadly tor- mitigation measure managed by a partnership between local,
nadoes in Massachusetts, and more than state, federal, and other organizations.
$8 billion in flooding damage brought into
sharp focus the need for increased resilience to haz1. Develop access to better and more complete data
ards and disasters.
and information about hazards and disasters—this
can improve the prediction of events and the understanding of risk and can provide the means to docuDefining Resilience
ment injuries, loss of life and property, and impacts on
A 2012 National Research Council (NRC) report, Diseconomic activity.
aster Resilience: A National Imperative (2012), defines
2. Improve ways to understand, communicate, and
resilience as the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb,
manage risk—this is critical to building a wellrecover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse
events. The report outlines ways in which increased
3. Identify measures of a community’s resilience—
resilience can help to reduce the risks of—and vulthis provides a foundation for determining progress
nerability to—disasters before they occur, to decrease
toward resilience, documenting returns on investdisaster costs, and to mitigate the consequences.
ment, and setting priorities for building resilient comWhat does resilience look like? The report
describes a future, disaster-resilient America in 2030
4. Support and maintain coalitions and partnerin which the citizenry is well-informed about levels
ships within and across communities, because comof risk, communities have established plans for dismunity resilience is a shared responsibility—this can
asters, community networks provide support when
facilitate exchanges of information, best practices, and
normal services are interrupted, and the need for
ways to leverage resources.
postdisaster aid and resources has decreased. A disaster-resilient America also would have an upgraded
To advance these four actions, policies can be
infrastructure designed and built for 21st century
developed that mitigate risk—for example, through
disasters and extreme events.
building codes and zoning; that invest in critical
infrastructure for energy, public health, and other
fundamental capabilities; and that secure arrangeThe challenge for communities and experts is how to
ments for international cooperation in emergencies.
move from the recovery-focused, disaster-manageThe many units across NRC will be taking on work
ment mindset of today to a culture of resilience for the
that advances these four actions to increase disaster
future. Four key actions can help the United States to
resilience in the United States and abroad.
increase resilience to hazards and disasters:
PHOTO: NATIONAL AERONAUTICS
The authors are with the
Division on Earth and Life
Studies, National Research
Council of the National
D.C. Eide is Director of the
Board on Earth Sciences
and Resources and served
as Study Director for the
Committee on Increasing
National Resilience to
Hazards and Disasters.
Augustine is the Associate
Executive Director of the
Division and oversees the
Special Projects on Risk
and Resilience of
Fuel Supply in an Emergency
Securing the Weakest Link
The author is Chief,
Office of Emergency
Sacramento, and Chair
of two National
Project Panels: on the
Guidebook and on
Preplanned Recovery and
Accepted Practices for
t 3 a.m., a large magnitude earthquake hits
Southern California. Responders rush to
their vehicles to start the complex and arduous job of assessing the impact on people and on the
The responders have done everything right in
preparing for this event, including topping off the fuel
tanks of their vehicles every night. The responders
enter an environment that has no lights—the electrical grid is off line, water lines are broken, and gas lines
and standard communications are not operable.
As hours pass, it becomes evident that a critical
resource is not available to the responders or to the
public at large—fuel. Many commercial fuel sites are
available, but the fuel cannot be accessed for the
responders or the public until the electrical grid is
back on line. At best, restoration may take several
This scenario identifies issues that are not unique
to California but are global in scale:
u How can commercial fuel sites be staffed and
on line during emergencies, especially along routes
designated for evacuation?
u Although some states extend grants to assist
commercial fuel sites in purchasing emergency generators, the grants often fall short of the amounts
needed for purchase and installation.
Protecting an Asset
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has learned by experience that access to fuel
at all times is essential to emergency response. During emergencies and catastrophic events, Caltrans
has had to compete with the public for fuel at commercial sites. On many occasions, the commercial
sites would be off line with the loss of electrical
power. In some instances, fuel was not available for
first responders or for the traveling public, let alone
Caltrans has 403 maintenance stations throughout the state; of these, 220 have on-site bulk fuel
storage tanks for diesel, biodiesel, or unleaded gasoline. In addition, Caltrans owns many sources of E85
fuel—that is, 85 percent ethanol blend. Other state
agencies, including the California Highway Patrol
and the California Department of Forestry and Fire,
rely on Caltrans’ bulk fuel in areas that have a limited
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
PHOTO: BRIAN KINGSLEY
After Superstorm Sandy,
fuel was difficult to come
by; several states
PHOTO: JONATHAN HENDERSON, GULF RESTORATION NETWORK
availability of commercial fuel. Many bulk fuel sites
can generate their own power; a major power outage
would not affect the refueling of vital emergencyservice vehicles.
Moreover, Caltrans has bulk fuel sites in strategic
and densely populated areas such as the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. These
resources represent an immediate and deployable
resource for emergency responders.
Fuel has a direct bearing on the means and
resources to respond to emergencies and to maintain
California’s infrastructure. Protecting and carefully
managing this asset ensures that fuel is available
whenever it is needed.
Exposed by Sandy
Applying the Lessons
Several lessons for the fuel supply chain have
emerged from recent disasters at home and abroad:
u Readily available fuel, even in abundant supply,
is useless unless it can be pumped from the storage
tanks during a power outage.
u Emergency responders should not be compet-
ing with each other and with the traveling public for
u Although many states have enacted legislation
and awarded grants to assist fuel distribution sites to
acquire emergency generators, the grants often are
insufficient to offset the capital investment of buying
and installing the generators.
u Legislation should be enacted to identify critical fuel sites—for example, those that support lifeline
routes and disaster supply chains—and to support
those sites in dispensing fuel.
u First and second responders should evaluate
their access to fuel supplies. Funding may be needed
to create bulk fuel sites that do not depend on the
electrical grid, to support responders.
Emergency managers are keenly aware of the
interdependencies between transportation modes
and utilities. A wind storm knocking down power
lines or a cyberattack on the power grid can make
this interdependence evident. Otherwise robust state
emergency plans, county evacuation plans, continuity of operations plans, or emergency operations
plans at any level of government need to incorporate
well-thought-out courses of action to close the gap
in what may be the weakest link—access to fuel.
Flooding at the Phillips
66 Alliance Refinery near
Belle Chasse, Louisiana.
Storms can disrupt every
part of the fuel supply
TR NEWS 287 JULY–AUGUST 2013
Superstorm Sandy hit the Eastern Seaboard with a
vengeance in late October 2012, driving a record
storm surge that killed more than 100 people. The
Category 3 hurricane also exposed the fragility of the
fuel supply chain in the United States.
The storm affected every link of the fuel supply
chain, from tankers halted by debris in the water, to
flooded refineries, to refineries and commercial fuel
depots shut down by power failures, to tanker trucks
redirected by emergency agencies, to service stations—more than half of the region’s service stations
were not able to operate because of the loss of electrical power. Residents struggled to acquire fuel;
some states imposed gasoline rationing.
Emergency and continuity of operations plans
must be improved nationwide to address these kinds
of situations, but new legislation also is needed. The
legislation at the least should address facilities that
support critical transportation routes, particularly
evacuation or lifeline routes.
New York State has made positive improvements
since Superstorm Sandy—for example, requiring certain gas stations to install quick-c…
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