From displacement to death, UN data innovation aims to boost aid response
By Kieran Guilbert
DAKAR, May 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - From displacement and deaths to funding and food prices, a new data map will enable aid agencies to compare and contrast various needs in a humanitarian crisis and boost their response, according to the U.N. team behind it.
The Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX), an open platform for sharing data among U.N. agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and governments, this week released an interactive map focusing on the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad region.
"The humanitarian data space used to be very fragmented - it was hard to find information and see where the main needs were," said data systems analyst Chad Hendrix.
"Now, with the map explorer for Lake Chad, if you overlay displacement data with fatalities in conflict data, you notice an interesting pattern straight away - you don't need to be an expert to notice it," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The HDX, which is managed by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), was set up in 2014 to bring together data from aid groups worldwide and streamline the information to make it easy to find and analyse.
It has hosted data on previous crises, such as the Ebola outbreak and Nepal earthquake.
The project now features more than 4,000 data sets covering some 250 locations across the world, ranging from Ecuador and Yemen to Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp, and Hendrix hopes the data map will allow aid workers on the ground to access data quickly.
"We hope humanitarian responders can use the new tool to look at recent data, compare and contrast it, and make decisions about what needs to be done," he said. Continuación...