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Aid Allocation for Camp-Based and Urban Refugees with Uncertain Demand and Replenishments

Shima Azizi(sazizi***at***wpi.edu)
Cem Deniz Caglar Bozkir(cem.bozkir***at***ozu.edu.tr)
Andrew C. Trapp(atrapp***at***wpi.edu)
O. Erhun Kundakcioglu(erhun.kundakcioglu***at***ozyegin.edu.tr)
Ali Kaan Kurbanzade(kaan.kurbanzade***at***ozu.edu.tr)

Abstract: There are nearly 26 million refugees worldwide seeking safety from persecution, violence, conflict, and human rights violations. Camp-based refugees are those that seek shelter in refugee camps, whereas urban refugees seek support in the nearby, surrounding populations. While effective allocation is needed to ensure proper distribution of scarce resources to refugees, the distribution of aid within refugee camp systems suffers from lack of management and ad hoc allocation of supplies. Aid allocation should be carried out in a manner that properly balances the need of ensuring sufficient aid for camp-based refugees, with the ability to share excess inventory, when available, with urban refugees that at times seek aid from nearby camps. Amid uncertainties in both camp-based and urban demand, as well as the cycle duration for replenishing aid, we derive an inventory management policy to govern a camp's sharing of aid with urban refugee populations. We use the policy to construct costs associated with: i) referring urban populations elsewhere, ii) depriving camp-based refugee populations, and iii) holding excess inventory in the refugee camp system. We then seek to allocate aid in a manner that minimizes the expected overall cost to the system. We propose two approaches to solve the resulting optimization problem, conduct computational experiments, and present related discussions that reveal key managerial insights into humanitarian aid allocation under uncertainty.

Keywords: Inventory Management, Humanitarian Aid, Nonlinear Optimization, Stochastic Modeling

Category 1: Applications -- OR and Management Sciences

Citation: Foisie Business School Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester, MA 01609, USA May 6, 2020

Download: [PDF]

Entry Submitted: 05/06/2020
Entry Accepted: 05/07/2020
Entry Last Modified: 05/06/2020

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