The paper analyzes the performance of different post-disaster humanitarian logistic structures that arose in response to the Port-au-Prince earthquake of January 12th, 2010. Based on fieldwork conducted by the authors, the paper defines a typology of structures; assesses their relative performance in terms of delivering relief aid; and identifies the causes that explain the differences between them. Three structures are defined for comparative purposes: Agency Centric Efforts (ACEs), Partially Integrated Efforts (PIEs), and Collaborative Aid Networks (CANs). These structures differ to the extent to which they are integrated with the local social networks during the relief effort. Representative examples were analyzed to illustrate their inherent strengths and weaknesses and reach conclusions of general applicability. The authors strengthen the analyses with discussions of ‘‘comparables,’’ i.e., other cases not fully discussed in the paper that shed additional light onto the performance of the structures.
The paper’s analyses are based on dozens of interviews, both formal and informal, conducted with individuals directly involved in the relief effort, complemented with critical analyses of news accounts, and reports produced by the agencies involved. Based on its chief findings, the paper makes policy recommendations to maximize the effectiveness of future relief distribution efforts in response to disasters of various sizes