Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mapping Refugee and Migrant Stories


The Refugee Project is a mapped visualization of worldwide refugee migrations since 1975. The mapped timeline uses UN data to show refugee volumes and movement over time.

The circles around countries on the map represent the number of that country’s citizens living abroad as refugees. Lines from each country's circle show all the foreign countries where its refugee nationals resided in that year.

The map also includes a number of newspaper shaped icons. Click on these icons to read about the context behind each refugee crisis and an explanation of what people are running from and why.


Since the start of the Syrian civil war at least two million refugees have fled the country and more than five million have been displaced internally. Most of the refugees have fled to neighboring countries. This humanitarian crisis has placed a huge burden on Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Al Jazeera has created a mapped visualization to help convey the scale of rehousing seven million people. Where would 7 million displaced Syrians fit? allows you to overlay the area needed to rehouse 7 million people on any location in the United States.

The area of land needed at each US location is based on the current population density as revealed by the 2010 census. Viewing the refugee overlay on top of your own home-town really conveys the humanitarian crisis caused by the Syrian civil war.


Last year the Global Mail created a superb mapped interactive report on one migrant's story. Filmmaker Matt Abbott gave Muhammad Hussain, a Hazara Pakistani about to set out on a journey to seek asylum in Australia, a video camera and asked him to film his experiences. The result is Hussain's Journey.

The Global Mail's mapped report starts off with Matt Abbot's own recordings of Muhammad Hussain's family and life in Karachi. When Muhammad set off on his dangerous journey to Australia he took over the filming himself. The mapped report of this journey allows you to view his experiences in safe houses, in smugglers’ homes and, in the final stretch of his journey, across the ocean in a rickety boat.
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