REACH deployed with the Global Shelter Cluster in South Sudan to complete a shelter assessment
Through its stand-by partnership with the Global Shelter Cluster, REACH has been deployed to South Sudan on January 13rd, 2014 in order to facilitate a shelter assessment in Juba. The extensive presence of REACH throughout South Sudan facilitated such a rapid deployment in the aftermath of this new displacement crisis provoked by a wave of violence across the country late 2013.
Maps and factsheets will be made publicly available on both this page and REACH Resource Centre.
Over the past years, crowdsourcing has been a source of information increasingly applied in the aftermath of a disaster, but not yet properly understood. One of the key developments of the humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in November 2013 has been the extensive use of the OpenStreetMap crowdsourcing platform to provide a rapid evaluation of the damages. REACH formed a partnership with the American Red Cross, under the overall banner of the Global Shelter Cluster, and with funding from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), to carry a review of this damage assessment produced by hundreds of online volunteers. This exercise aims at reinforcing local visibility and informing global best practice.
The resulting interim report measures the accuracy of building damage assessments conducted by the OpenStreetMap community in selected areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan. It aims to assess the overall ability of crowdsourced platforms to remotely create information about building-level damages in areas affected by natural disasters. It also seeks to inform the possibility of linking standard shelter surveys with data created by OSM contributors, and therefore define the appropriate shape, form and extent of crowdsourced inputs to existing disaster assessment tools.
Overall the assessment shows that the OSM damage assessment data created in the area affected by Typhoon Haiyan is not reliable enough to utilize for damage analysis and recovery planning. Contributors were unable to view “partial” damages to the sides or insides of buildings due to the inherent limitations of overhead satellite imagery and therefore underreported the number of undamaged or partially damaged buildings by a small but meaningful margin.
However it also found that modest investments in technology, business processes and pre-disaster activities could make OSM a strong platform for damage assessment data and analysis in future disasters.
Considering the success of the assessment through this partnership with the American Red Cross and the Global Shelter Cluster, REACH will keep exploring such collaboration on the ground of new technologies developments to better inform the humanitarian response.
Despite a significant effort of the humanitarian community to address basic needs and services delivery to Syrian refugees living in Jordan, institutions and service providers throughout the country, particularly in Northern communities, are still experiencing difficulties considering the constant growth of the population.
REACH, in partnership with the British Embassy in Amman, is identifying the specific points of tension that have emerged as a result of the increasing strain on finite resources and services, while assessing resilience and stability of communities hosting refugees.
The ‘Evaluating the Effect of the Syrian Refugee Crisis on Stability and Resilience in Jordanian Host Communities: Preliminary Impact Assessment’ report outlines what has emerged so far. Combining micro-level information gathered through interviews with Jordanians and Syrians, with a review of secondary data, REACH found that competition over employment and challenges in accessing housing and education are key points of tensions between host communities and Syrian refugees. At the macro level, key points of tension on were found to include solid waste management and the provision of healthcare and water services. An important finding highlighted in the report, is that many factors contributing to the strain on resources and services in host communities pre-date the Syrian crisis, which has now been exacerbated by the increasing refugee population.
Over the coming months, REACH will conduct in-depth focus group discussions with Syrian refugees, Jordanians, and local administrations in 160 Jordanian communities, to identify the specific points of stress in each community and enable humanitarian actors to develop interventions that alleviate tensions.