Logistics/Production and Operations Management: Natural Disasters


Natural disasters are something that is caused by nature and produces a lot of damage to families, people and businesses. It can be due to Water in the form of Tsunami, rain and floods, Air in the form Cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, Fires in forests, Earthquakes, volcanoes and so on. Natural disasters are unplanned and are inevitable. As these are uncontrollable, there could only be preventive measures taken before and necessary steps taken once occurs. Thanks to the technology and the media as we are knowing about a few little ahead and are able to take necessary steps to avoid maximum damage that could occur to a family, people or business. In this paper I will take a Natural disaster and the steps taken for disaster relief, plan a master scheduling and material handling to meet the needs of communities involved, contingency planning, concepts of prior planning to prevent poor performance so the execution of plan is seamless by coordinating with resources.

Natural Disaster

The occurrence of natural disaster requires the application of master scheduling which will help in handling the losses generated to meet the needs of the community. For instance, in 2017, there was the occurrence of three consecutive hurricanes which happened in a matter of one month. Those hurricanes include the Hurricane Harvey which struck on August 2017, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria which occurred on the same month that is in September 2017 (EPA.org, 2019). They caused a lot of destructions and affected a relatively more substantial part of the United States of America. There was the loss of lives, damage of properties, displacement of people and the loss of homes and other personal properties.  There is also the need to deal with the properties destroyed, which act as a hindrance when it comes to dealing with the aftermath of the hurricanes. Those tasked with the mandate of handling the effects and helping people to recover to their normal lives after the incidents require installing and implementing various plans. 

As a project manager for disaster relief working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), I am supposed to come up with the master scheduling process that aims at helping those affected in Hurricane Irma. The initial step entails understanding and highlighting the various components incorporated in the scheduling. In our case, we need to have comprehensive information about the effects caused by the hurricane. It is also appropriate to note the best possible ways that one can help those affected. It is also suitable to plan the time to be employed while dealing with the menace. This is described in terms of the years, months, weeks and even days. Therefore, before commissioning the creation of the master schedule, it is essential to note the materials to be employed, human resource to utilize, the main aim of the plan and the time frame for the implementation of the entire disaster management scheme (Katana, 2018).

The main aim of the project is to help in relocating those affected, offering medical services to those injured, assisting people in dealing with the trauma associated and also ensuring that the debris is well taken of.  As a project manager, it is imperative to ensure that all the victims of the sad incident can return to their normal lifestyle before it happened. To achieve this, it is essential to involve various professionals. They include doctors, and other medical personnel are who will help in dealing with the injuries. There is also the need for psychologists who will help the victims deal with the trauma associated with the hurricane. There is also a need for material things such as clothes, medicines, and buildings and lands that will act as the new home to those displaced. Other agencies involved in dealing with emergency issues in the United States should be included. 

The initial step will involve investigating the place whereby the incident happened. This helps in identifying the best ways to go about helping those affected. Then, taking care of those in need of medical needs follows. All the people affected are supposed to pass through various medical screening hence establishing those requiring more medical attention. Offering counselling to the people then follows. This helps in ensuring that the incident does not affect the mental and emotional aspect of the people who witnessed the entire disaster.  Recording those involved in the catastrophe then follows. It helps in getting the best ways to help them acquire a permanent location for living. The next step involves transferring the victims into a temporary place where they can live before the government decides on an appropriate area to relocate them to. The final stage requires the relocation of the victims into a permanent place which is less prone to experience a similar incidence. All these activities should be carried out in a matter of two weeks.

There is the need for the establishment of a contingency plan which will be applied in case of a similar incident repeats in the near future. The government agencies responsible for disaster management create the arrangements in advance, especially when it comes to occurrences that have a probability of occurring (Mind Tools, 2019). In our case, it is relevant to have a contingency plan which provides alternatives in case various steps face challenges in their implementation. The stakeholders involved in the implementation of the programs should have a comprehensive understanding of the project. There are multiple components of the contingency plan that are supposed to be present for it to work in case the initial method fails. When human resources have an adequate understanding of these elements, they are more likely to transform effectively towards dealing with issues that arise when the project is underway. The initial thing is carrying out research hence understanding the risky areas, the primary triggers of the risk and the best response strategies to employ (Mind Tools, 2019). It also involves informing those involved the role they play in the project and how they are supposed to relate with one another. Timeline to be utilized in carrying out the plans should be set, and the stakeholders know and agree with it. Ensuring that roles played by various resources and people in the project are well-defined help in making sure smooth operations and all the resources coordinate well.


Therefore, the manufacturers are required to implement a master schedule and the material handling that will be required to employ to successfully meet the needs of the communities involved. There’s a saying, “It doesn’t depend on how deep we fall, it only depends on how quick we raise”. We have seen Japan many times in the past, even though many times Tsunami hit them, they took preventive measures before and were able to quickly raise back and continue their normal life. Instead of standing at a point and thinking about the loss, it is always good to think about the contingency plans and proceed forward.


EPA.org. (2019). PLANNING FOR NATURAL DISASTER DEBRIS. Retrieved from EPA: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-04/documents/final_pndd_guidance_0.pdf

Ianni, B. C., Ross, D. D., Bennett, J. E., Ciholas, M. E., Hollinger, H. A., Singer, K. D., & VanVorst, D. B. (2018). U.S. Patent No. 9,971,916. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Katana. (2018). The Only Master Production Schedule Guide You’ll Ever Need. Retrieved from KATANA: https://katanamrp.com/blog/master-production-schedule

Mind Tools. (2019). Contingency Planning. Retrieved from Mind Tools: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_51.htm