A robust optimization model for distribution and evacuation in the disaster response phase


Industrial Engineering Department, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran


Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, affect thousands of people and can cause enormous financial loss. Therefore, an efficient response immediately following a natural disaster is vital to minimize the aforementioned negative effects. This research paper presents a network design model for humanitarian logistics which will assist in location and allocation decisions for multiple disaster periods. At first, a single-objective optimization model is presented that addresses the response phase of disaster management. This model will help the decision makers to make the most optimal choices in regard to location, allocation, and evacuation simultaneously. The proposed model also considers emergency tents as temporary medical centers. To cope with the uncertainty and dynamic nature of disasters, and their consequences, our multi-period robust model considers the values of critical input data in a set of various scenarios. Second, because of probable disruption in the distribution infrastructure (such as bridges), the Monte Carlo simulation is used for generating related random numbers and different scenarios; the p-robust approach is utilized to formulate the new network. The p-robust approach can predict possible damages along pathways and among relief bases. We render a case study of our robust optimization approach for Tehran’s plausible earthquake in region 1. Sensitivity analysis’ experiments are proposed to explore the effects of various problem parameters. These experiments will give managerial insights and can guide DMs under a variety of conditions. Then, the performances of the “robust optimization” approach and the “p-robust optimization” approach are evaluated. Intriguing results and practical insights are demonstrated by our analysis on this comparison.