Analysis of Factors for Last Mile Relief Distribution Performance in Indian Context

  • Priyanka Roy

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


A natural disaster repetitively occurs all over the world from the decades and in every instance, the relief operation planning is necessary for the affected population. One of the key factors of effective relief operation planning is logistics. The objective of emergency logistics is to organise and manage the competent movement of relief from the original point to the destination point to meet the urgent needs of the affected community. Last mile relief distribution (LMRD) is the ultimate phase of emergency logistics. It refers to the supply of relief items from local distribution centres to the disaster-affected community. There are many challenges like oversupply, resource limitations, lack of field operation planning, those increase the challenges during final relief distribution. This thesis has adopted a case study approach to address the gap in the literature of relief distribution. The practical factors, which affect the LMRD performance, mainly in Indian earthquake context, has identified in this thesis. Finally, the influence of those factors in the LMRD performance has been analysed in this research project.

The performance metrics are identified by the analysis of the interviews with the practitioners and also this thesis present a generic framework about the behavioural factors which affect the LMRD performance metrics. This thesis specifically based on Indian earthquake context, therefore the conducted interviews with the Indian government and with South Asian NGOs have identified coordination, as the major factor, which affects the final relief distribution in India.

An Agent-Based Model (ABM) is developed based on the Indian LMRD system to investigate the impact of coordination on effectiveness. Here effectiveness defined as the speed and accuracy with which aid is delivered to the affected people. The ABM was tested under various scenario analyses to investigate the effectiveness of coordination. This thesis used two case studies: Gujarat (2001) and Sikkim (2011) earthquakes to validate the theoretical results. It is established from the model results, that there is a statistically significant impact on the
performance of the model when coordination is incorporated as a factor for the multi-agent system. Also, the results show the inventory efficiency and cost effectiveness for integrating coordination for LMRD system in India. The developed approach exhibited the importance of the micro-level issues like coordination for the relief distribution decision making process.
Date of AwardJul 2017
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPavel Albores (Supervisor) & Christopher Brewster (Supervisor)


  • Last Mile Relief Distribution
  • Agent-Based Model
  • Behavioural Operations Research
  • Emergency Logistics

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