Sustainability in Disaster Operations Management and Planning: An Operations Management Perspective

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Virginia Tech

Advancing the state of disaster operations planning has significant implications given the devastating impress of disasters. Operations management techniques have in the past been shown to advance disaster-planning efforts; in particular, much progress can be noted in its application in the advancement of short-term recovery operations such as humanitarian logistics. However, limited emphasis has been placed on the long-term development scope of disaster operations. This dissertation argues the need for a fundamental shift in the motivation of archetypal disaster planning models, from disaster planning modeled around the emergency of the disaster event, to that of the sustainability of the community. Consequently, the purpose of this study is to address three key issues in regard to sustainability in disaster operations and planning.

The first study of this dissertation (Chapter 3) focuses on describing disaster operations management and planning in its current state, examining features unique to sustainability in this context, and finally developing a planning framework that advances community sustainability in the face of disasters. This framework is applied in the succeeding quantitative studies (Chapter 4 and Chapter 5).

The second study in this dissertation (Chapter 4) extends the sustainable planning framework offered in Chapter 3, using mathematical models. In particular, the modeling contributions include the consideration of multiple possible disaster events of single disaster type expected in a longer-term decision horizon, under integrated disaster management planning that is geared towards sustainability. These models are assessed using a mono-hazard scenario generator. A pedagogical example based on Portsmouth, Virginia, is offered.

The last study in this dissertation (Chapter 5) extends the application of quantitative models to account for the 'multi-hazards' paradigm. While Chapter 4 considered multi-event analysis, the study was limited to a mono-hazard nature (the consideration of only one type of hazard source). This study extends analytical models from mono-hazard to multi-hazard, the consideration of a range of likely hazards for a given community. This analysis is made more complex because of the dependencies inherent in multiple hazards, projects, and assets. A pedagogical example based on Mombasa, Kenya, is offered.

Sustainable Disaster Operations, Disaster Planning, Resilience, Multi-Hazards, Sustainability