Disasters have devastating impacts on societies, affecting millions of people and businesses each year. The delivery of essential goods to beneficiaries in the aftermath of a disaster is one of the main objectives of relief logistics. In this context, selecting suitable locations for three different types of essential facilities is central: warehouses, distribution centers, and points of distribution. The present dissertation aims to improve relief logistics by advancing the location selection process and its core components.
Five studies published as companion articles address substantial aspects of relief logistics. Despite the case studies' geographical focus on Germany, valuable insights for relief logistics are derived that could also be applied to other countries. Study A addresses the importance of public-private collaboration in disasters and highlights the significance of considering differences in resources, capabilities, and strategies when using logistical models. Moreover, power differences, information sharing, and partner selection also play an important role. Study B elaborates on the challenges to identify candidate locations for warehouses, which are jointly used by public and private actors, and suggests a methodology to approach the collaborative warehouse selection process. ... mehrStudy C investigates the distribution center selection process and highlights that including decision-makers' preferences in the objective function of location selection models helps to raise awareness of the implications of location decisions and increases transparency for decision-makers and the general population. Study D analyzes the urban water supply in disasters using a combination of emergency wells and mobile water treatment systems. Selected locations of mobile systems change significantly if vulnerable parts of the population are prioritized. Study E highlights the importance of accurate information in disasters and introduces a framework that allows determining the value of accurate information and the planning error due to inaccurate information.
In addition to the detailed results of the case studies, four general recommendations for authorities are derived: First, it is essential to collect information before the start of the disaster. Second, training exercises or role-playing simulations with companies will help to ensure that planned collaboration processes can be implemented in practice. Third, targeted adjustments to the German disaster management system can strengthen the country's resilience. Fourth, initiating public debates on strategies to prioritize parts of the population might increase the acceptance of the related decision and the stockpiling of goods for the people who know in advance that they will likely not receive support.
The present dissertation provides valuable insights into disaster relief. Therefore, it offers the potential to significantly improve the distribution of goods in the aftermath of future disasters and increase disaster resilience.