Coping with Disaster - The Central Role of Supply Chain Management at IFRC

The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) has made great strides in recent years towards better organising and coordinating relief supplies in disaster areas. With in particular, more focused attention paid to disaster preparedness; that means ensuring during gaps between emergencies, that efforts are made to being operationally prepared, not waiting for a given emergency to spring into action.

by Luk Van Wassenhove, Bernard Chomilier,Ramina Samii
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) learned a great many lessons while overseeing disaster relief after the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat, India. This was the first catastrophe in which all the IFRC's various capacities in managing emergency supply chains were really able to function both smoothly and simultaneously. An Emergency Response Unit was on the ground two days after the quake, organising and coordinating the arrival of relief supplies. By the next day, its response plan was fully operational. How was this made possible?

Bernard Chomilier, Director of IFRC's Logistics and Resource Mobilisation (LRMD), INSEAD Professor Luk N. Van Wassenhove and Research Associate Ramina Samii detail the ways in which the IFRC - and in particular the LRMD - had learned to work hard during disasters, but even harder between them. Two elements were now appreciated as absolutely critical to all disaster management: preparedness and response.

In this frank and informative Forced Migration Review article, the authors illustrate how the various major improvements have been made in the IFRC's supply chain management structure; how this structure is supported, and what types of improvements remain to be made.

See below to access related case studies and other humanitarian supply chain management research on INSEAD Knowledge.

INSEAD 2003

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