Optimizing Humanitarian Relief Operations with Transloads

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Kevin Guadagno
Kevin Saval
Quinn Van Drew
Sophia Vasiliadis
Philip Cho
Jesse Pietz


The 2010 earthquake in Haiti caused nearly 112,000 fatalities making it one of the deadliest natural disasters ever recorded in the western hemisphere.  In the weeks following the disaster, the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command moved over 29,000 passengers and 18,000 tons of relief aid in support of the relief effort, Operation Unified Response.  During the first 96 hours of the operation 59% of aircraft transporting relief aid to Haiti arrived late.  In order to assist planners in responding to future disaster relief efforts, we introduce a mixed integer programming (MIP) model that reduces the time required to deliver available relief aid into Haiti.  The aircraft routing schedule outputted by the model demonstrates that our optimized airlift network increases the amount of relief aid delivered in the first 96 hours of the operation.  Due to issues with the tractability of the MIP, we introduce an aircraft routing heuristic for use in real-world humanitarian relief operations.  We show that our heuristic is able to produce similar results to the optimization, provides greater flexibility to account for realistic planning considerations, and solves within seconds.

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How to Cite
Guadagno, K., Saval, K., Van Drew, Q., Vasiliadis, S., Cho, P., & Pietz, J. (2015). Optimizing Humanitarian Relief Operations with Transloads. Industrial and Systems Engineering Review, 3(2), 98-106. https://doi.org/10.37266/ISER.2015v3i2.pp98-106


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