Networks and Spatial Economics

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 21–39 | Cite as

A Voronoi-Based Heuristic Algorithm for Locating Distribution Centers in Disasters

  • Wilfredo F. Yushimito
  • Miguel Jaller
  • Satish UkkusuriEmail author


This paper provides insights to locate a finite number of distribution centers to provide a quick response time for disaster relief incorporating social costs within the modeling framework. We explore theoretical aspects of the problem formulation and propose a model that maximizes coverage of affected regions while minimizing human suffering through the use of a social cost function. Our results show that the social cost function is minimized within the area enclosed by the Voronoi region for a chosen facility. We also propose a heuristic algorithm to solve the problem of locating these facilities in a reasonable amount of time. Since the quality of the solution and the running time depends largely on the initial starting points for the heuristic, we provide recommendations to choose the initial starting points. The proposed approach has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of distributing critical supplies in disasters by optimizing the response time.


Facility location Voronoi diagrams disasters Humanitarian supply chains Nelder-Mead 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wilfredo F. Yushimito
    • 1
  • Miguel Jaller
    • 1
  • Satish Ukkusuri
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.5107 Jonsson Engineering CenterRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  2. 2.School of Civil EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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