Natural and man-made disasters affect over 200 million people around the world annually. In the aftermath of a disaster, humanitarian organizations providing supplies, resources and expertise are the first line of defense for affected populations. However, a lack of available funding to invest in infrastructure, processes, and tools, has resulted in usable but inadequate technology systems for disaster relief management. Under-utilization of technology has resulted in limited learning from disaster to disaster; origin-to-destination information about money, food and non-food supplies and gifts-in-kind is not readily available to decision-makers in real-time. In addition, manual, non-standardized, error-prone processes still dominate. Fritz Institute believes that commercial best practices in technology and process improvement � adapted to the unique context of disasters � have the potential to stretch relief dollars, increase operational efficiencies, and improve the delivery of aid.

Humanitarian Logistics Software (HLS)
HLS was developed by Fritz Institute to address the unique supply chain needs of humanitarian organizations. HLS tracks the pipelines of supplies, information and financing from donation to delivery, providing multiple benefits including:

  • Increased relief chain velocity
  • Increased timeliness of information for decision-makers at headquarters and in the field
  • Improved collaboration among humanitarian relief organizations
  • Enhanced institutional memory across the relief chain
  • Improved return on donation

HLS was developed in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC). Fully implemented in September 2003, HLS has provided documented benefits in several recent responses by the IFRC, including Morocco�s earthquake; Haiti and the Dominican Republic�s floods; the refugee crisis in Darfur, Sudan; and most recently in the countries affected by the Southeast Asia tsunami.

HLS is being used extensively today by the IFRC to coordinate relief in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Maldive, and Myanmar. IFRC has stated that HLS has helped to improve their response time by 30%.

In November 2004, Fritz Institute was named a Tech Laureate by the Technology Museum of Innovation (San Jose, CA), a prestigious award given annually in recognition of social entrepreneurs who leverage technology to impact mankind.

Fritz Institute provides humanitarian relief organizations a royalty-free license to use HLS for disaster relief, health and social programs and assistance to people affected by conflict or natural disasters.

Humanitarian Logistics Software (HLS) system runs on Windows 2000 server with MS SQL Server 2000 as a database server. HLS has a 3-tier web-based architecture which comprises of C#, ADO.NET, ASP.NET, JavaScript. HLS can be accessed from any client machine running the Internet Explorer 5.x or Netscape Navigator 6.x. [more]
Can Heroes Be Efficient?
Information Technology at the International Federation of the Red Cross
In Somalia, of a population of 7 million people, more than 350,000 remain refugees, while another 400,000 have been internally displaced by years of conflict and drought.
We are responding to emergencies. It's extremely important in our business to respond in hours rather than days. We are saving at least a few days here [with HLS], and that means saving a lot of additional lives.
-Sanjiv Jain,
manager of the IT projects unit at IFRC in Geneva
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