Simulation Framework for Analysis of Relief Distribution Efforts after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico

After massive disasters and catastrophes, communities’ infrastructure and communication systems can be severely affected to the point that they cease to function. Furthermore, the affected areas are supplied with significant amounts of donations, which need to be optimally inventoried, stored, and distributed to benefit those affected while minimizing logistics costs. In these events, it is vital to have disaster response plans in place, and readily available trained personnel who can reach and support the affected areas with critical supplies in time to prevent the loss of lives and property. In 2017, Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, a category five hurricane. Non-established relief groups (NERGs) formed immediately after the disaster to reduce the distress of the severely affected population. This research presents a conceptual framework with the key factors to improve the operation of NERGs when participating in the relief efforts after a catastrophic event. The proposed framework considers the steps required for an efficient relief effort, and it is intended to support a well-organized emergency response process by NERGs. Simulation tools were implemented to assess the operations performed by these groups to manage supplies. Various layouts for the space usage distribution and factors that affect the material convergence phenomenon were evaluated. Recommendations are provided for NERGs to improve the efficiency of their activities and increase the benefits offered to the affected communities.


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  • Accession Number: 01763822
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TRBAM-21-03398
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 23 2020 11:12AM