Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Movement of Refugees Around the World


The University of Zurich has created an interesting visualization of refugee movements around the world since the end of the cold war. The Refugee Movements interactive map allows you to see where refugees have come from and the countries that they have moved to.

If you click on a region on the world map you can view the inward and outward flow of refugees from the region for the selected year. Arrows show the main countries of origin for the refugees. The width of the arrows represent the relative number of refugees.

The bar chart on the left of the map shows the largest origin countries and the numbers of refugees from these countries. The pie chart to the right of the map shows the proportion of refugees moving within the region and the proportion from other world regions. The timeline below the map allows you to explore the global movement of refugees over time and investigate the effects of world events on refugee movements.

The Horn of Africa section provides a more detailed examination of how political and environmental events can effect refugee numbers and movements of refugees in one particular region. This section looks at individual countries in the Horn of Africa, the number of refugees from these countries over the years and the reasons why the numbers of refugees might suddenly increase or decrease because of local events.


The data for the Refugee Movements map comes from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). CREATE Lab has mapped the movement of refugees around the world for every year since 2000 using the same data.

At first glance the animated flowing dots on the Global Refugee Flow map can be a little confusing. With all that movement it can be hard to pick out information from the map. As the timeline plays, however, patterns do emerge. For example you can see how neighboring countries most often receive the most refugees from countries in crisis and that western countries usually get off very lightly.

The countries listed along the bottom of the map are where a high proportion of peoples have been forced to flee their homes and become refugees. If you select one of these countries the map will zoom-in on the country and an information window will open explaining the crisis that led to people leaving the country.


Flight & Expulsion is a more explorable interactive mapped visualization of the same worldwide migration data from the annual UNHCR Refugee Report. This map allows you to explore the refugee data for any country to see how they have responded to crises around the world.

If you select a country on the map you can view the number of 'arrivals' and 'departures' for any year from 1988 to 2008. The countries where a high proportion of citizens have emigrated to are shown on the map in green. The countries where immigrants have come from are shown on the map in brown.


The UNHCR also teamed up with Google to create an immersive web documentary explaining the issues around the current Syrian refugee crisis. The documentary explores what is happening in Syria, where Syrian refugees are going and how you can help. Searching for Syria uses audio, video, 360 degree photospheres and before & after imagery to help explore the country, the effect of the war and the story of its people.

The 360 degree photospheres are used to help explain the rich history of Syria and showcase its amazing cultural legacy. These panoramic images allow you to explore Syria's six UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Every single one of which has been destroyed or damaged by the war.

While the loss of Syria's World Heritage Sites is heartbreaking the real tragedy is the human cost of the war and the huge numbers of Syrians who have lost their homes. Searching for Syria explores the plight of Syrian refugees and also explains what you can do to help.
Post a Comment