Our manuscript on evacuation travel planning versus everyday travel

A new manuscript:

Liu, S., Murray-Tuite, P. & Schweitzer, L., 2012, Analysis of child pick-up during daily routines and for daytime no-notice evacuations, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 46(1), pp. 48-67.

From the abstract:
In a no-notice disaster (e.g., nuclear explosion, terrorist attack, or hazardous materials release), an evacuation may start immediately after the disaster strikes. When a no-notice evacuation occurs during the daytime, household members are scattered throughout the regional network, and some family members (e.g., children) may need to be picked up. This household pick-up and gathering behavior was seldom investigated in previous work due to insufficient data; this gap in our understanding about who within families handles child-gathering is addressed here. Three hundred fifteen interviews were conducted in the Chicago metropolitan area to ascertain how respondents planned their response to hypothetical no-notice emergency evacuation orders. This paper presents the influencing factors that affect household pick-up and gathering behavior/expectations and the logistic regression models developed to predict the probability that parents pick up a child in three situations: a normal weekday and two hypothetical emergency scenarios. The results showed that both mothers and fathers were more likely to plant to pick up a child under emergency conditions than they were on a normal weekday. For a normal weekday, increasing the distance between parents and children decreased the probability of parents picking up children; in other words, the farther parents are from their children, the less likely they will pick them up. In an emergency, effects of distance on pick-up behavior were significant for women, but not significant for men; that is, increasing the distance between parents and children decreased the probability that mothers pick up a child, but had a less significant effect on the fathers’ probability. Another significant factor affecting child pick-up behavior/expectations was household income when controlling for distance. The results of this study confirm that parents expect to gather children under emergency conditions, which needs to be accounted for in evacuation planning; failure to do so could cause difficulties in executing the pick-ups, lead to considerable queuing and rerouting, and extend the time citizens are exposed to high levels of risk.

More children in peril: flooding and extreme events

Recent Floods Leave Children at Risk


Devastating floods have left hundreds of thousands of children at risk of disease, malnutrition and exploitation in:

Sri Lanka – The entire eastern region submerged in water. More than 1 million people affected.
Brazil – Worst floods in decades. More than 800 dead and 15,000 homeless.
Philippines – 500,000 people homeless after a month of nonstop rains. More rain on the way.
Pakistan – New data shows floods’ legacy – record-high child malnutrition.

UNICEF has mobilized in all four countries to immunize children, supply safe drinking water and to distribute bed nets, nutrition and sanitation supplies. UNICEF is also working to safeguard children separated from their families.

> Support emergency flood relief

Energy Disasters of the Future? Michael Klare

From the Nation:

On June 15, in their testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the chief executives of America’s leading oil companies argued that BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was an aberration—something that would not have occurred with proper corporate oversight and will not happen again once proper safeguards are put in place. This is fallacious, if not an outright lie. The Deep Horizon explosion was the inevitable result of a relentless effort to extract oil from ever deeper and more hazardous locations. In fact, as long as the industry continues its relentless, reckless pursuit of “extreme energy”—oil, natural gas, coal and uranium obtained from geologically, environmentally and politically unsafe areas—more such calamities are destined to occur.

link: The Coming Era of Energy Disasters | The Nation

I’m not sure sure about the other scenarios, but the Nigeria scenario seems pretty unlikely at this point. There, oil companies have gotten the hint: after violence directed at oil workers by militant indigenous organizations, those companies pulled out and the NIgerian government has nationalized most production last year. I haven’t studied the other two situations, however, and they are worth thinking about.

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New Journal on Humanitarian Aid Logistics

Emerald Group Publishing is delighted to announce the launch of an exciting new journal for 2011: Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Co-edited by Dr. Gyöngyi Kovács and Professor Karen Spens, Hanken School of Economics, Finland, the journal will publish state of the art research in the field of humanitarian and development aid logistics and supply chain management. Logistics and supply chain management related articles in the context of disaster relief and development aid are of equal interest to the journal.

The journal will publish papers based upon different methodological approaches and submissions utilizing both quantitative and qualitative approaches will therefore be welcomed. The journal will publish a range of different papers including empirical research, a call for research notes and viewpoints from practitioners.

The journal will publish research on the following topics:

– Humanitarian logistics

– Emergency logistics

– Disaster relief operations

– Supply chain management in disaster relief

– Development aid logistics and supply chain management

– Assessing and managing supply chain vulnerability

– Managing supply chain disruptions

– Measuring performance in humanitarian supply chains

– Decision-making in humanitarian supply chains

– Knowledge management and transfer in humanitarian supply chains

– Information and communication technology for humanitarian logistics

– Supply chain co-operation, integration and collaboration in the humanitarian setting

– Relationship management in humanitarian supply chains

– Public-private partnerships in humanitarian logistics

– Inter-organisational co-ordination across humanitarian supply chains

– Crisis management

– Civil-military co-operation in disaster relief

– Humanitarian health care supply chains

– Principles and theory of relief supply chain management

– The role of donors and volunteers in humanitarian logistics

– Non for profit-supply chains.

Submit a paper

Initial submissions to Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management should be sent to the co-editors:

Dr. Gyöngyi Kovács: kovacs@hanken.fi

Professor Karen Spens: karen.spens@hanken.fi

Heartbreaking news from Taiwan and China

The folks from the compact development research argue that high human population settlements make for more resilient cities. However, it is disasters such as these which make me wonder: is it likely that there is a one-size-fits-all urban form for resiliency against disasters. 400 people victim to one mudslide is terrifying, and while I guess we could go into long arguments about how climate change is causing all this, we’ve had typhoons for some time. What we haven’t had in the scope of human history are the population levels and densities in particular locations which heighten the casualties from major events.

As irritating as Los Angeles is to many urbanists, developers’ response adaptation to earthquakes made perfect sense before the technology was available to build upwards. The spread also creates a feedback problem for the wildfire resiliency folks. Yes, it would be better if people weren’t living in the fire ecosystem on the fringes. But given that there are people living in the fire ecosystem, the fewer the better, the easier it is to evacuate them, etc. I’m not suggesting that LA fringe is an optimal urban form, but it does carry some advantages. The spatial spread in LA’s population and economic activities meant that while Northridge and surrounding areas suffered immensely from the earthquake, the rest of the region went on largely as before.

Environmental justice (?) in Bhopal

On Thursday, a judge in Bhopal, 25 years after the fact, issued an arrest warrant for the former boss of Union Carbide.

The Union Carbide disaster was one of the most significant moments in the history of both enviromentalism and environmental justice. I’ve written extensively about the need for reparative justice for Bhopal, but even I was unprepared for crowds beating an effigy of an 90 year-old man, no matter what he symbolizes, at this event. There is no forgiveness, however, without reparation; there may never be forgiveness regardless of reparative acts. Forgiveness is a gift, not an entitlement, and if you are going to make the CEO salary, you had probably better be ready to take on the big consequences of what your organization does.

There are so many questions in the Bhopal case remaining. Is it even reparative to pay $500 million to a national government when the effects were localized? Given the scope of human misery, $500 million seems very little. in comparison to the billions paid out for bailouts.

I wish I had something profound to say here, but I do not. This is a situation that simply defies justice.