Understanding Decision Support in Large-Scale Disasters: Challenges in Humanitarian Logistics Distribution

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 301)


Disasters are characterized by conflicting, uncertain, or lacking data. Nevertheless, humanitarian responders need to make rapid decisions. This is particularly true for the immediate response to a sudden onset disaster. Since most humanitarian decision support systems (DSS) make important assumptions on data availability and quality that are often not fulfilled in practice, decision-makers are largely left to their experience. In this paper, we identify three major challenges for an operational DSS to support distribution planning: (i) deep uncertainty; (ii) reflecting field conditions and constraints; and (iii) rapid humanitarian logistics modeling. We review the relevant theories and provide an outline of the system requirements to develop a system for operational responders to achieve targeted service level on distribution of disaster relief through proper utilization of resources, time and scheduling.


Decision support systems Deep uncertainty Disaster response Rapid decision-making Humanitarian logistics distribution 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AgderKristiansandNorway
  2. 2.Delft University of TechnologyDelftNetherlands

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