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Between the years of 2000 and 2012, natural disasters caused 1.7 trillion dollars in damage and affected 2.9 billion people (dosomething.org). In Americas (ranked second globally in terms of natural disasters) between 2007 and 2016, disasters caused 255,033 deaths, 898,816 injuries and damages worth $470 billion (Disasters, 2017). In 2016 alone, natural disasters caused $175 billion in damage with 8,700 lives (Munich RE, 2017). The above numbers reflect the amount of physical destruction only but do not include indirect losses such as unemployment, environmental consequences, and business disruptions. Therefore, the full impact of these catastrophic events is much greater than these numbers suggest. Response to and management of disaster relief supply chain is different from that of commercial supply chain/logistics in many aspects. Since humanitarian relief efforts depend to a large extent on international donors and the donors usually respond well to emergency, a well thought out long term strategic plan to relive human suffering is not well established. But studies indicate that investment in the planning stage of humanitarian supply chain is much more effective and saves many lives than spending on the operation side of relief efforts.

This paper explores alternative ways to respond and manage humanitarian relief efforts utilizing the principles of commercial supply chain. More specifically, this paper addresses/outlines the process to improve relief outcomes by investing in the prepared stage of humanitarian supply chain.