Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Philippines in November 2013, killing thousands and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.
Within a day, help was on the ground from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental first response organization. IOM is responsible for managing displaced populations and experienced in managing shelters and coordinating operations efforts in places where people gather after natural disasters. In addition to providing non-food related response to those affected, IOM also set about collecting and managing invaluable data through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) pertaining to the 300,000 people rendered homeless in the wake of the typhoon’s destruction.
In responding to the unprecedented scale of this disaster, IOM took the initiative to provide an unprecedented response, using data analytics to parse through the mountain of information available, and to focus on areas where effective response was most critical.
Traditionally, due to the pressing nature of relief efforts, there’s little room to innovate in real-time — the majority of efforts are sensibly focused on immediately improving the situation for the victims. Typically, data is gathered by IOM on the ground and put into Excel sheets for human analysis. But this time IOM partnered with business analytics provider SAS to help.
About the author
I-Sah Hsieh is global manager, international development at SAS.