Location and Emergency Inventory Pre-Positioning for Disaster Response Operations: Min-Max Robust Model and a Case Study of Yushu Earthquake

Wenjun Ni, Jia Shu, Miao Song

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Pre-positioning emergency inventory in selected facilities is commonly adopted to prepare for potential disaster threat. In this study, we simultaneously optimize the decisions of facility location, emergency inventory pre-positioning, and relief delivery operations within a single-commodity disaster relief network. A min-max robust model is proposed to capture the uncertainties in both the left- and right-hand-side parameters in the constraints. The former corresponds to the proportions of the pre-positioned inventories usable after a disaster attack, while the latter represents the demands of the inventories and the road capacities in the disaster-affected areas. We study how to solve the robust model efficiently and analyze a special case that minimizes the deprivation cost. The application of the model is illustrated by a case study of the 2010 earthquake attack at Yushu County in Qinghai Province of PR China. The advantage of the min-max robust model is demonstrated through comparison with the deterministic model and the two-stage stochastic model for the same problem. Experiment variants also show that the robust model outperforms the other two approaches for instances with significantly larger scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-183
Number of pages24
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • disaster relief
  • facility location
  • inventory pre-positioning
  • min-max robust optimization
  • network flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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