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Empirical analysis of volunteer convergence following the 2011 tornado disaster in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Natural Hazards (2016)
  • Emmett Lodree
  • Lauren B Davis
 Volunteer convergence refers to the mass movement of volunteers
  toward affected areas following disaster events.  Emergency
  management professionals sometimes refer to volunteer convergence as
  ``the disaster within the disaster,'' which is an indicator of the
  tremendous challenge that managing the post-disaster influx of
  spontaneous volunteers presents.  In order to develop effective
  strategies for managing volunteer convergence, it is imperative that
  emergency managers and coordinators understand the nature of
  convergence from a quantitative perspective.  This paper presents a
  case study of volunteer convergence following the April 2011 tornado
  disaster in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and represents the first academic
  study to rigorously analyze volunteer convergence
  data. Specifically, we characterize selected stochastic variables
  that are relevant to volunteer task assignment within the context of
  a disaster relief warehouse environment using data collected during
  tornado relief efforts in May 2011. Time series analysis and a
 hierarchical clustering method based on the Kruskal-Wallis test revealed both
  non-stationarity and non-homogeneity in the data with respect to
  time of day, day of the week, and number of weeks past the disaster
  event.  We also discuss the implications of our findings with
  respect to modeling relief center convergence as a queuing system. 

  • Humanitarian logistics,
  • volunteer convergence,
  • case-study,
  • data analysis,
  • disaster relief center,
  • queuing system
Publication Date
Citation Information
Emmett Lodree and Lauren B Davis. "Empirical analysis of volunteer convergence following the 2011 tornado disaster in Tuscaloosa, Alabama" Natural Hazards (2016)
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