Data for unprecedented need
Everyone in a humanitarian situation should have the data they need, when and how they need it, to make responsible and informed decisions. That is the mission of the Centre for Humanitarian Data, housed at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). They work to increase the speed of data from collection to use and collaboration by building simple data standards and open platforms to distribute data like the Humanitarian Data Exchange.
OCHA built the COVID-19 Map Explorer to synthesize many relevant data sets for humanitarian decision makers, including COVID-19 case data, population of refugees and internally displaced people, food market prices, status of vaccination campaigns, and funding levels. To manage such a wide set of rapidly updating data, OCHA leveraged GitHub for updates and distribution. The national and subnational boundaries are sourced from openly available data, and must be the approved political boundaries. To visualize, the map uses efficient client-side joins to load only the needed indicator data and assign the appropriate color.
COVID-19 is compounding existing humanitarian challenges: 34 of the 63 countries that require humanitarian assistance to deal with the pandemic are in long-term humanitarian crisis. For instance, how are the mitigation measures for COVID-19 impacting planned vaccination campaigns, and where are we seeing countries fall into deeper need because of insufficient funds? To answer questions like this takes a large amount of complex data across regions and specific countries, and the explorer presents it all in a clear and usable format tailored for humanitarian decision makers, and accessible to anyone trying to understand the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable.