A grid-based humanitarian logistics solution

  • Hennie Kruger


Natural disasters often cause large-scale destruction and many studies focus on the support and evacuation of disaster victims. During a disaster, timely provision of relief items, such as medical supplies, is a critical task and is considered one of the fundamental functions in a humanitarian logistics chain. However, many practical problems and challenges often occur that make the smooth operation of humanitarian logistic functions a difficult and sometimes impossible task. One such problem is the accessibility to disaster areas where roads, railway lines and other transport routes have been demolished and which causes residents or other victims to be cut off from any assistance. In the event that no or little infrastructure exists, humanitarian workers must find new and innovative ways of reaching people in need. In this paper, a grid-based maze that can be solved to find optimal traversable routes in a disaster area is proposed. A matrix maze generation approach is suggested that can be solved by the Lee algorithm to find an optimal route. To illustrate the proposed methodology, a software solution was developed and applied to a real-world case study. The results obtained confirm that the proposed methodology, combined with the Lee algorithm as a solution strategy, delivers useful and accurate results that humanitarian workers may utilise to assist with the evacuation of victims and the transportation of relief items.


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