Innovation Driven

The Logistics of Disaster Response

When disasters occur, relief teams are often faced with an excess of donated materials that are not needed and can even be detrimental to providing support. The influx of unnecessary materials can slow the progress of delivering goods to those in need. Even the right supplies can be problematic when they reach the wrong location or arrive at the wrong time—such as before there is a place to safely store them. The result is that, according to the National Science Foundation, up to 60 percent of goods donated after a disaster end up going to waste.

As natural disasters around the world become more frequent and destructive, it’s clear that responding effectively is both a humanitarian and a logistical challenge.

Good360 works to channel donors’ well-intentioned generosity by matching donations with nonprofits who can use them. The UPS Foundation has worked with Good360 on relief and resilience efforts for many years. In 2015, we became a founding partner of the Good360 Disaster Recovery Council where we have begun to develop best practices for in-kind giving. In 2018, we helped Good360 launch Resilient Response, a cross-sector initiative aimed at driving more thoughtful, proactive, and impactful giving. Over the past several years, UPS has helped facilitate the distribution of millions of dollars’ worth of appropriate goods to disaster-impacted communities.

Our partnership with The UPS Foundation helps Good360 get the right goods to the right people at the right time."

Matt Connelly
Good360 CEO

But every disaster is different, and we still have more progress to make. Hurricane Dorian was the worst disaster in the history of the Bahamas, and after it hit the island in 2019 a familiar pattern repeated itself. More than 150 containers and 2,000 pallets of donations were delivered to the Bahamian capital. Donations arrived without a recipient, and in the early aftermath of the disaster, there was no strategy or resources to sort, inventory, and circulate these goods. And because roads, ports, and communication grids were heavily damaged, distributing supplies across the chain of islands was next to impossible.

good 360

The UPS Foundation wants to help break this cycle. We’re providing a cash grant and in-kind transportation to Good360 to continue to leverage its recovery model in the Bahamas by working with on-the-ground partners to determine what’s actually needed by the community during different stages of the recovery. With our support, Good360 continues to send needed goods, ensure their responsible distribution, and maximize impact. In parallel, Good360 is working with local agencies to best evaluate and deploy the unsolicited goods that were received. We’re also helping Good360 develop strategies to overcome the constraints disasters often present, such as the destruction of warehouses, airport closures, and mobility issues that limit survivors’ ability to receive donations and supplies.

The outcome we hope for is a more thoughtful approach to giving across the entire life cycle of a disaster, not just the immediate aftermath. As The UPS Foundation and Good360 continue our work together, we hope to speed recovery in the Bahamas—and any future disaster zones.

To read more about UPS’s charitable contributions, click here.

good 360

The UPS Foundation wants to help break this cycle. We’re providing a cash grant and in-kind transportation to Good360 to continue to leverage its recovery model in the Bahamas by working with on-the-ground partners to determine what’s actually needed by the community during different stages of the recovery. With our support, Good360 continues to send needed goods, ensure their responsible distribution, and maximize impact. In parallel, Good360 is working with local agencies to best evaluate and deploy the unsolicited goods that were received. We’re also helping Good360 develop strategies to overcome the constraints disasters often present, such as the destruction of warehouses, airport closures, and mobility issues that limit survivors’ ability to receive donations and supplies.

The outcome we hope for is a more thoughtful approach to giving across the entire life cycle of a disaster, not just the immediate aftermath. As The UPS Foundation and Good360 continue our work together, we hope to speed recovery in the Bahamas—and any future disaster zones.

To read more about UPS’s charitable contributions, click here.

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