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Haiti earthquake logistics lessons

May 19th, 2010 | By: Martin Arrand

Mike Whiting has written an excellent article on the emergency response to January’s Haiti earthquake in the April 2010 edition of Logistics and Transport Focus. My copy of Focus often languishes in the in-tray for a couple of weeks before I even get the plastic wrap off, but I’d urge all CILT members to read this article.

Mike gives an overview of the logistics systems that were put in place to support the relief and subsequent recovery operations. The scope of the challenge and the solutions that were designed an implemented against a ticking clock are actually quite inspiring.

But he also gives some very valuable background, particularly around learning in the profession and NGOs about improving the quality and effectiveness of the response. He refers to the 2008 ALNAP (Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance) report on earthquakes.

Among the lessons from that report that caught my eye was the observation that “recovery operations are not neutral: they will reinforce or reduce existing inequalities and must be actively designed to do the latter”.

There is more interesting discussion of the ALNAP report in a blog post on the ODI’s website.

There was a good deal of criticism of the operations in Haiti at the time – particularly that things were slow to get started. Haiti is a very difficult place to work in – recent kidnappings of aid workers are just one example. Mike concludes his detailed and informed discussion of what actually happened with the judgement that:

Given the unique circumstances, the response was as good as one could realistically expect.

If you are a CILT member, you should be able to read the article online – look for volume 12, number 4, April 2010.

You can find the ALNAP report from their website (link above) or download the pdf here.

Mike Whiting, by the way, is chairman of CILT’s Humanitarian Logistics (HELP) Forum.


Pingback from Supply Chain View » Haiti emergency logistics from the ground
Time 25 May 2010 at 4:25 pm

[…] with Mike Whiting’s article in April which I summarised last week, Maggie’s account makes clear the scale of the problem. She describes: people camped […]

Pingback from Supply Chain View » A medic’s view of humanitarian logistics in Haiti
Time 2 June 2010 at 3:31 pm

[…] during the response to the Haiti earthquake in January this year (see my posts on articles by Mike Whiting and Maggie […]

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