Using GIS in Disaster Response Operations: A Case Study of Locating Logistics Depots in Istanbul

Using GIS in Disaster Response Operations: A Case Study of Locating Logistics Depots in Istanbul

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7210-8.ch009
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Earthquakes come first compared with other disasters concerning casualties and economic losses. Thousands of people need heath and logistic support after earthquakes. Therefore, legal authorities focus on finding best locations for logistics depots to reach the demand points as soon as possible. Linear and non-linear models are used to find depot locations. In this study, alternatively, geographic information system (GIS) is used to find the optimal locations of depots among candidates. A new model is introduced which cover the earthquake effects while estimating the vehicle speeds on road segments. Optimal locations of depots are found both with and without including the earthquake effects on vehicle speeds and travel times on the road segments in order to compare the results. A case study is applied for Bahçelievler town in Istanbul. Three depot locations are found among 21 candidate locations (facilities) for 62 estimated demand points. The results show that the depot locations are not necessarily the same whether the earthquake effects on travel times are included or not.
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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) defines “a disaster” as “a sudden, calamitous event which seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources” (IFRC, 2018). IFRC explains Disasters in two ways: “natural hazards” and “technological or man–made hazards.” Natural hazards are naturally occurring occurrences which can have a slow or rapid onset. Natural hazards are classified as geophysical activities, such as earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, and volcanic activities; hydrological activities, such as avalanches and floods; climatological activities, such as extreme temperatures, drought, and wildfires; meteorological activities (e.g., cyclones and storms/wave surges); and biological activities (e.g., disease, epidemics, and insect/animal plagues). This binary categorization has been challenged over the past several years by an ever-stronger claim that regardless of the event a disaster is actually manmade. Ilan (2020) explains that “Disasters are not the consequence of natural causes; they are the consequence of human choices and decisions. We put ourselves in harm's way; we fail to take measures which we know would prevent disasters, no matter what the environment does.” Smith (2006) echoes this perspective, suggesting that “It is generally accepted among environmental geographers that there is no such thing as a natural disaster. In every phase and aspect of a disaster—causes, vulnerability, preparedness, results and response, and reconstruction—the contours of disaster and the difference between who lives and who dies is to a greater or lesser extent a social calculus. Hurricane Katrina provides the most startling confirmation of that axiom”. After analyzing several related studies, Williams (2008) points out that “Recent disasters have been of such scale and complexity that both the common assumptions made about learning from them and the traditional approaches distinguishing natural from technological disasters (and now terrorism) are thus challenged”.

Whether we accept them as a natural event or the consequence of human choices and decisions, disasters cause significant effects on populations, including many fatalities, injuries, related health problems, damage to property, and negative effects on economies due to lack of preventative measures taken to reduce their impact. The latest World Disaster Report produced by IFRC notes a total of 3751 disasters worldwide for the ten-year period from 2008 and 2017. Over 2 billion people were affected. The estimated cost of damage in the 141 countries affected over that 10-year period is estimated to be US$1,658bn (IFRC, 2018). The IFRC operational budget was US$2.3bn over this same period of time.

In this study we focus on earthquakes; earthquakes are one of the most disruptive disasters with respect to their economic and social loses. Twenty percent of the IFRC’s budget has been used in response to earthquakes (IFRC, 2018) for the ten-year period from 2008 and 2017. Earthquakes are occurring almost constantly around the world. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) data, there have been over 14,000 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or higher, and about 150 earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.0 or greater every year since 1900; only some of those earthquakes cause great destruction (Yaltırak, et al. 2003).

Unfortunately, it is not possible to prevent earthquakes, but it is possible to decrease the effects of disasters by taking precautions beforehand, such as building structures and infrastructure that is less affected by earthquakes. Further, possible locations for logistics depots (i.e., locations where relief supplies can be pre-positioned) can be determined and, when possible, optimized to support rescue and recovery operations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Shortest Route (Path): Is a route between an origin and destination with minimum distance, time or cost depending on which factor is being minimized. Shortest route problems are usually formulated as an integer program and solved as a relaxed linear program. Sometimes, heuristic algorithms are more efficient to find solutions.

Network Analysis: A set of methods which let researchers to describe relations among actors and to analyze the social structures that appear from the recurrence of these relations. This analysis is conducted by collecting data which are organized in matrix form. In transportation networks, the actors and their relationships are described as nodes and lines (or arcs) respectively. Shortest routes are found, facilities are located by applying network analysis.

Geographical Information System (GIS): GIS is a computer-based system which has the capacity to obtain, store, sort, and display information graphically.

Relief Items: Food, water, medication, clothes, blankets etc. given to people in need, especially in disaster areas.

Disaster Response: Is a stage of the disaster management. It contains evacuation of people from disaster areas, search and rescue, providing fast support, measuring damage, permanent assistance and the restoration or construction of infrastructure.

Facility Location Problem: Is a special kind of problems in which locations for new facilities are found by minimizing cost or distance from facilities to demand point. It is also known as location analysis and commonly used by operations researchers. The objective in this problem is placing facilities to so as to minimize transportation costs.

Logistics Depot: Is a facility dedicated to logistical operations. A logistics depot might be a warehouse, freight forwarder, or a repair depot.

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