Lancaster logistics experts help natural disaster response organisations at Indonesia event

Four people sitting behind a table at the workshop

During a workshop in Indonesia, Lancaster researchers showcased new work that can help national and regional organisations and NGOs respond to natural disasters.

Professor Konstantinos Zografos, Director of the Centre for Transport and Logistics (CENTRAL) in Lancaster University Management School, presented to an audience of more than 60 attendees in Jakarta.

Members of Indonesia’s National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure (BNPB); 12 Regional Agencies for Disaster Countermeasure (BPBD); seven NGOs; and nine universities attended the event, held in collaboration with Universitas Indonesia, and supported by BNPB and the NGO Humanitarian Forum Indonesia (HFI).

Professor Zografos and the University of Indonesia team, led by Prof Heru Suhartanto, presented work from the RESilient Emergency Preparedness for Natural Disaster Response through Operational Research (RESPOND-OR) project and its extension RESPOND-OR-X. The projects aim to assist agencies in their natural disaster planning and response, improving decision-making capabilities at regional and national levels. The workshop was moderated by Professor Juliana Sutanto from Monash University, Australia, formerly with Lancaster University.

During the Effective Response to Natural Disasters: The RESPOND-OR-X Decision Support System (DSS) workshop, RESPOND-OR-X project members demonstrated and explained the use of their new DSS, which aims to help Indonesia prepare for events such as floods or volcanic eruptions. This work can assist in improving assisted evacuation decisions and decisions regarding dispatching disaster response personnel to the affected areas.

“The RESPOND-OR-X DSS is the result of extensive research and teamwork," said Dr Ari Saptawijaya, Deputy Dean for Education, Research and Student Affairs at Universitas Indonesia. “It is proof of the ability of digital solutions to support efficient decision-making in emergency scenarios.”

Mr Bambang Surya Putra, Director of the National Indonesian Emergency Operation Centre, said: “Indonesia is an area with quite high risk of disasters. Every day, we deal with at least nine or ten disasters. Yearly, we have around 3,000 or so disasters. Handling these disasters manually is very challenging for us. With the RESPOND-OR/RESPOND-OR-X DSS, we hope we can evacuate people faster, and we can improve the scheduling and deployment of our resources."

Professor Zografos added: “The RESPOND-OR and RESPOND-OR-X DSS has the potential to improve the capabilities of disaster response organisations in dealing with natural disasters. Indonesia experiences more natural disasters than almost anywhere else in the world, including flooding and volcanic eruptions, so working with the response organisations there can make a real impact on helping to mitigate the impacts on the affected population.

“At the workshop, we were able to demonstrate how our mathematical and logistical expertise can be used to create systems which help disaster response teams with their vital preparedness and response operations.”

RESPOND-OR is funded by the UK Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. RESPOND-OR-X also receives ongoing support from Lancaster University's Global Advancement Fund.

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