Utility services are part of the local infrastructure and include electricity, natural gas, and telecommunications services; water systems are a separate entity. Many disasters disrupt service in the utilities of an afflicted area, complicating not only life for locals, but also the logistics of disaster response.

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, because of its magnitude and scope, was a wake-up call for many of the large humanitarian organizations that discovered their logistics were not as resilient as expected; five years later, the 2010 Haiti earthquake provided a new challenge. Though the damage was not as widespread as in 2004, enough of it was centered in the capital city of Port-au-Prince to make logistics a nightmare.

Among the severe damage to the infrastructure was the loss of power ...

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