The Refugee Crisis in Europe: Modelling Humanitarian Logistics
The research strives for sustainable humanitarian logistics, which has the bjective to assure a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of refugees. Focusing on the current refugee crisis in Europe, we examine what role information and communication technology can play in facilitating this objective.
Overall logistics of refugees is problematic, because they are not nicely distributed over time, capacity to host them at fixed places is limited and procedures to either grant them a status or send them back have unknown length. Calculating an optimal logistics procedure is very difficult. In general there are three elements that are important in logistic processes: efficiency, robustness and flexibility. Finding optimal procedures usually is about optimizing the efficiency. However, for refugee logistics flexibility (being able to cope with varying sizes of refugee streams, changing places, length of stay) and robustness (when refugee camps are closed or other means of support are suddenly unavailable) are very influential. Thus we need to find ways to preserve as much efficiency while being flexible and robust.
This project will approach this problem through an agent-based approach in which agents represent the different stakeholders and support organizations in the process. This approach of modelling should give right to the different perspectives, rights, concerns and values of each stakeholder. Value sensitive design will be used to integrate these issues of ethical importance in a systematic way into the logistic model.
Simulations can be made that can serve in two ways. Firstly, they can be used to simulate different scenarios and indicate where bottle necks might appear and where they come from. Secondly, to serve as a means of communication between the stakeholders showing them the concerns of other stakeholders and what are possible solutions involving the cooperation of several parties.