Executive summary Humanitarian aid is not a new concept in the world history. This is because for over years, different disasters are occurring with millions of people throughout the world being affected and thousands losing their lives. The aftermath of disasters are usually enormous and are characterized by huge loss of property and lives as well as displacement of persons. The underscore is that, majority of the affected persons have their livelihood destabilized and to help them return to normal life, support of any kind is very essential However, what has been established in the study of the humanitarian cases is that, logistics is major issue.
This is because even if the required support like food, shelter and clothing as well medicine is available, it has remained a big challenge to channel this support to the victims and ensure it reaches them at the most appropriate time. This has made it very difficult to attain high levels of time and place utility which are all very critical. Because of the breakdown in communication as a result of poor information management, form utility in some occasions is not attained because the sourcing is done based on very little information.
It is with this regard therefore that, the four important logistics activities which include packaging and material handling, warehousing, transportation and coordination are considered critical for supporting the whole process of humanitarian logistics and add to its value. More important among this is coordination as it allows for integration of all activities from sourcing to delivery. 1.0 Introduction In the current world, it cannot go without mentioning that mankind is subject to situations that may impact on their livelihood and those that cannot be managed given their own capacity and resources they have at their disposal.
In the living environment, as human beings, we are always prone to such incidences like civil wars which have continued to increase the displacement of people from their homes and forcing them to seek refuge in neighboring countries where refugee camps are established. In addition, there are also some elements of disasters which can be grouped into two major categories namely human caused disasters like terrorism and natural ones that include earthquakes, Tsunamis, and drought among others (Balcik et al 2010).
All these factors are a threat to human life as in some situations they occur in extremes, prompting for intervention from various institutions both private or NGOs and public or government institutions of respective countries. A good example is the occurrence of the earthquake in the South parts of Asia which resulted into a very momentous Tsunami in the region. It is noted that, approximately 230,000 people lost their lives while 1.7 million others were displaced.
The occurrence was a major shock not only to the affected countries but the world community as majority of the people affected and rescued were in need of urgent aid in terms of humanitarian assistance. The response of aid came from over 40 countries across the world in addition to 700 NGOs which in one way or the other supported the process of providing necessary assistance. For example, various companies from the United States alone contributed US$565 million both in cash and other forms towards the affected parties.
Therefore, from this point of view, humanitarian aid can be described as any support that is given to a person, community or country that has had an emergence and that cannot endure on its own aftermath (Charles et al 2010). Humanitarian aid can be inform of food, medicine, shelter, clothing, water and even psychological counseling aftermath with the aim of ensuring that the affected community or people are able to recover back to their normal lives. On the other hand, humanitarian logistics is "the process of planning, implementing and controlling the efficient, cost-effective flow and storage of goods and materials, as well as related information, from point of origin to point of consumption for the purpose of meeting the beneficiary's requirements" (Kovacs & Spens 2009, pp.
5). In other worlds, humanitarian logistics is used to support the delivery of humanitarian aid to the beneficiary. The definition for humanitarian logistics with the exclusion of beneficiary could be used to refer to business logistics.