First responders to large international disasters: Identifying supply chain and organisational characteristics

Kate Hughes

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Humanitarian response to sudden-onset events such as earthquakes, cyclones, floods and tsunamis requires the ability to manage extremely complex situations. The organizations providing the first phase of disaster response need the capacity and capabilities to deliver goods and services quickly to those impacted by an event. This is often under difficult circumstances in foreign locations and across cultures. The supply chain ‘type’ that is most appropriate for this immediate response is known as agile and similar to those found in fire and ambulance emergency services, or in the fashion industry within the commercial sector. These supply chains carry excess capacity that is not necessarily deployed at all times, yet ready and prepared for rapid response to these events. The organisations involved in delivering the aid also need to be responsive in order to quickly provide resources required for the basic necessities of survival in the critical period immediately after an event in order to reduce further loss of life. These agile supply chains and responsive organizations provide the requirements for the first phase of disaster management.

    This paper uses content analysis to explore the information provided on the web-sites of the larger non-government organisations (NGOs) and United Nations departments that are typically involved in response to large sudden-onset international disasters. This approach is used to identify the characteristics of their supply chains and organization structure and to determine if this matches the activities they are pursuing in this first phase of disaster response. The organizations that respond most effectively during this period are designed to provide high flexibility of delivery in situations with volatile demand.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    EventIrish Academy of Management Annual Conference 2012 - Maynooth, Ireland
    Duration: 6 Sept 20127 Sept 2012


    ConferenceIrish Academy of Management Annual Conference 2012


    • disaster management
    • agile supply chains
    • emergency services
    • responsive organizations
    • humanitarian supply chains


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