Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Z_GIS to further deepen skills for providing critical information services in humanitarian aid support

Today’s World Refugee Day reminds us to reflect on our individual and institutional power to support people in need. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlines that “… despite budget constraints everywhere, we must not turn away from those in need. Refugees leave because they have no choice. We must choose to help." Over the last years, the Centre for Geoinformatics has chosen to dedicate their methodological skills to support crisis management and refugee operations. In the frame of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Austrian branch of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Z_GIS researchers have been applying their EO-based tools for population monitoring and water exploration several recent crisis situations, including the Sudan crisis 2011, that led to massive refugee movements to the camps around Dadaab in Kenya. The figure below shows the change dynamics in 2011 in one of the Dadaab camps. Just very recently, the collaboration between Z_GIS and MSF received substantial funding from a private foundation to carry on and intensify their endeavor in creating tailored information services in  situations similar as this.