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Emergency Evacuation Planning in Natural Disasters Under Diverse Population and Fleet Characteristics

Baou, E., Koutras, V., Zeimpekis, V., Minis, I.

Accepted for publication in the Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Publication date 3 December 2018



Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to formulate and solve a new emergency evacuation planning problem. This problem addresses the needs of both able and disabled persons who are evacuated from multiple pick-up locations and transported using a heterogeneous fleet of vehicles.
Design/methodology/approach – The problem is formulated using a mixed integer linear programming model and solved using a heuristic algorithm. The authors analyze the selected heuristic with respect to key parameters and use it to address theoretical and practical case studies.
Findings – Evacuating people with disabilities has a significant impact on total evacuation time, due to increased loading/unloading times. Additionally, increasing the number of large capacity vehicles adapted to transport individuals with disabilities benefits total evacuation time.
Research limitations/implications – The mathematical model is of high complexity and it is not possible to obtain exact solutions in reasonable computational times. The efficiency of the heuristic has not been analyzed with respect to optimality.
Practical implications – Solving the problem by a heuristic provides a fast solution, a requirement in emergency evacuation cases, especially when the state of the theater of the emergency changes dynamically. The parametric analysis of the heuristic provides valuable insights in improving an emergency evacuation system.
Social implications – Efficient population evacuation studied in this work may save lives. This is especially critical for disabled evacuees, the evacuation of whom requires longer operational times.
Originality/value – The authors consider a population that comprises able and disabled individuals, the latter with varying degrees of disability. The authors also consider a heterogeneous fleet of vehicles, which perform multiple trips during the evacuation process.
Keywords Disaster relief logistics, Emergency evacuation planning, Evacuation of disabled persons
Paper type Research paper