Population flows after a disaster (merging Sankey diagram + Bar chart + Timeline)

by May 13, 2019

Lately I’ve been swamped for a month in a post-emergency mission, acting as the Information Manager of all humanitarian partners working to improve the population’s shelter. If life is in general messy and complicated/complex, humanitarian contexts (e.g. one month after one cyclone has damaged the houses of 1 million+ people) are definitely hectic, and often chaotic.

I’ve witnessed how the humanitarian sector, orchestrated by OCHA, organizes in clusters and spends long hours meeting, both by sectors/clusters and by cross-cutting issues, and trying to coordinate. The results are of course imperfect, but the machinery and willingness are there to try to maximize coverage and minimize duplicities in the actors’ responses.

During my work, when I have the chance to learn and work in other countries, I am used to see reality through different glasses. Sometimes I am looking at economic poverty in general (assessing vulnerabilities), or I focus on people’s livelihoods, or gender issues, or health, or democracy, among others. This is the first time I look at reality though shelter eyes: when visiting communities, you look mainly at the types of houses they live in (structure, materials, conditions), imagine their initial situation before the cyclone, assess how they failed (where, how and why they got damaged) and the consequences of all of it.

A common challenge I kept hearing the technical advisors (both from the government and the humanitarian actors) discuss about was the issue of people displaced: people who have left their houses due to the hazard, and have to be supported either to return, relocate or resettle. These groups are a clear preoccupation for the government and actors, though however in this case were a minority of the caseload – most of the affected people had stayed or had returned already to their original places. Furthermore, each of these groups need a different kind of assistance, and actors have to agree on it.

So, this visual tries to capture (in a very indicative, not precise manner) the different flows of people according to their accommodation situation, including an estimation of the time when things happen and an estimation of the proportions (again, not based on precise data but estimated proportions):

Flows of people are displayed from top to bottom (using a Sankey diagram concept), the bars try to imply proportions and time moves as the flows move downwards, implying a timeline – again, based on estimations.

Adding a new layer (blue boxes) we can represent the different moments where different groups would require different types of assistance, which represents the different actors strategies and types of interventions:

As usual, new ideas coming soon-ish (than lat-ish)… Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

New posts coming up:

(published every two weeks-ish 🙂 )

  • ToCs series
  • Visual summary of impact designs
  • Visual summaries of other criteria designs
  • Ideas to make Bibliographies more informative
  • Ways of mapping beneficiaries
  • My favorite pre-attentive features
  • Ideas for reports (series)
  • Some day: iterations with the Periodic Table of Evaluation

And more!

Stay tuned! 🙂

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