Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 223, Issue 1, pp 53–79 | Cite as

Relief distribution networks: a systematic review

  • A. M. Anaya-Arenas
  • J. Renaud
  • A. RuizEmail author


In the last 20 years, Emergency Management has received increasing attention from the scientific community. Meanwhile, the study of relief distribution networks has become one of the most popular topics within the Emergency Management field. In fact, the number and variety of contributions devoted to the design or the management of relief distribution networks has exploded in the recent years, motivating the need for a structured and systematic analysis of the works on this specific topic. To this end, this paper presents a systematic review of contributions on relief distribution networks in response to disasters. Through a systematic and scientific methodology, it gathers and consolidates the published research works in a transparent and objective way. It pursues three goals. First, to conduct an up-to-date survey of the research in relief distribution networks focusing on the logistics aspects of the problem, which despite the number of previous reviews has been overlooked in the past. Second, to highlight the trends and the most promising challenges in the modeling and resolution approaches and, finally, to identify future research perspectives that need to be explored.


Relief distribution networks Emergency logistics Humanitarian logistics Emergency management Response optimization Systematic review 



This research was partially supported by grants [OPG 0293307 and OPG 0172633] from the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). This support is gratefully acknowledged. The authors are grateful to the anonymous referee for his/her useful and constructive comments and suggestions.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur les réseaux d’entreprise, la logistique et le transport (CIRRELT)Université LavalQuebecCanada
  2. 2.Département opérations et systèmes de décision, Faculté des sciences de l’administration, Pavillon Palasis-PrinceUniversité LavalQuebecCanada

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