Mobility and Emergency Event Tracking in Sudan

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SEATTLE, Washington — Flooding in Sudan has made an already volatile situation worse. Flooding in Sudan is the newest cause of hunger and economic inflation in the country. As a result, Sudan is enhancing its mobility and emergency event tracking system to better identify displaced people in Sudan and connect them to food and shelter.

The Need for Long Term Humanitarian Response

While the number of displaced people rises, humanitarian organizations seek to respond. By 2018, the crisis of displaced people in Sudan already had the full attention of the United Nations. At that time, humanitarian crises were the cause of displacement rather than natural disasters. Mark Lowcock, the humanitarian chief of the United Nations, called for immediate and long term solutions.

Short term, immediate solutions typically come in the form of humanitarian aid. This form of economic relief is crucial; however, it can only do so much to counteract the forces that contribute to ongoing and rising rates of hunger and poverty. Two years ago, Lowcock cited the high rate of food insecure individuals in Sudan. Sustainable solutions brought to fruition through the enactment of a long-term plan will help the county “build resilience” to prevent displacement in the future.

Mobility Tracking

For several years, Tarig Adam has been involved in the laborious work of locating and identifying displaced and vulnerable people throughout Sudan. The country had implemented a Displacement Tracking Matrix in 2004 to identify and help individuals who were displaced by previous incidents, including war, food shortages and civil unrest. The DTM, which functions as an arm or leg of the International Organization of Migration, was designed to identify vulnerable individuals and evaluate their needs. Adam’s work with the DTM succeeds via two important methods.

  1. Adam and his team evaluate individuals by going door to door. They are on the lookout for traits that make an individual vulnerable. For example, Adam’s team prioritizes individuals with disabilities.
  2. When groups are larger, they organize groups in a central location. Displaced individuals who belong to a family are categorized as part of a single-family unit. They carry out similar means of assessing vulnerability. For example, family units with only one head of the family are prioritized, especially if a woman is the single head of a family unit.

Flooding in Sudan in 2020

This summer, flooding in Sudan broke 1946 and 1988 records. By mid-July, floods have affected almost 700,000 people and killed at least 100. Individuals who have been displaced by flooding constitute an emerging demographic of displaced peoples in Sudan. The Mobility and Emergency Event Tracking systems aim to identify displaced people in Sudan by similar means to the DTM. However, the enhanced method now responds to acute crises, especially natural disasters.

The onslaught of flooding has made an already desolate situation that much more inhospitable, however. The International Organization of Migration is calling for $7.5 million for “shelter, settlements and non-food items” for displaced people. This money will be designated for the construction of safe and sustainable housing for displaced families and individuals. It will also help conduct surveys to identify more vulnerable populations.

Another $1.5 million is required for disaster prevention. Specifically, this money will be used to construct flood prevention structures, such as culverts and drainage systems. It will also put in place emergency warning systems along with concerted efforts to install relocation plans to followed during subsequent emergencies.

Keeping Viligante

From peacemaking efforts to natural disaster response, Sudan and its people are overwhelmed by factors that contribute to hunger and poverty. Mobility and Emergency Event Tracking aim to identify displaced people in Sudan and connect vulnerable people to food, shelter and medical care. For people like Adams and his team, the daily work of connecting people to what they need is an experience of heartbreak and inspiration.

Taylor Pangman
Photo: Flickr

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