Applying Network Flow Optimization Techniques to Improve Relief Goods Transport Strategies under Emergency Situation


Given the seriously damaged emergency situation occurring after a large-scale natural disaster, a critical and important problem that needs to be solved urgently is how to distribute the necessary relief goods, such as drinking water, food, and medicine, to the damaged area and how to transport them corresponding to the actual supply and demand situation as quickly as possible. The existing infrastructure, such as traffic roads, bridges, buildings, and other facilities, may suffer from severe damage. Assuming uncertainty related with each road segment’s availability, we formulate a transshipment network flow optimization problem under various types of uncertain situations. In order to express the uncertainty regarding the availability of each road segment, we apply the Monte Carlo simulation technique to generate random networks following certain probability distribution conditions. Then, we solve the model to obtain an optimal transport strategy for the relief goods. Thus, we try to implement a necessary and desirable response strategy for managing emergency cases caused by, for example, various natural disasters. Our modeling approach was then applied to the actual road network in Sumatra Island in Indonesia in 2009, when a disastrous earthquake occurred to develop effective and efficient public policies for emergency situations.

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Parwanto, N. , Morohosi, H. and Oyama, T. (2015) Applying Network Flow Optimization Techniques to Improve Relief Goods Transport Strategies under Emergency Situation. American Journal of Operations Research, 5, 95-111. doi: 10.4236/ajor.2015.53009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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