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The increase in refugee numbers arriving in the European Union has recently caused major and manifold challenges for the member states and their administrative services. Environmental issues like the severe drought in Africa caused by the actual El Ninjo may even aggravate the situation by causing famines. Structural deficits in health situation, infrastructure and employment outside the agrarian sector characterize the living conditions for large areas in Sub-Saharian Africa. Data collection and the share of spatial information may support policy makers and public administration as well as NGOs to improve preparedness in origin countries and to discourage people from leaving their country. In response to the 1984-85 famines in Sudan and Ethiopia, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) created the Famine Early Warning System. Today the network FEWS NET publishes worldwide geospatial analyses to anticipate impending famines and advise policy makers on how to prevent or mitigate such famines. More than 20 institutions collaborate to analyse different satellite data, agro-climatology reports, environmental and food market issues, rainfall estimates and atmospheric monitoring of weather patterns such as El Nino and La Nina events.
Additional basic studies and services have been implemented during the last decade from the ESA Earth Watch GMES Service Element “Global Monitoring for Food Security” (GMFS) and others in the frame of the COPERNICUS programme. Applying the methods of data mining in spatial information there is a broad bundle if basic and actual information on the source region of potential migration available. It will be the urgent task for those responsible to make these spatial information available using the INSPIRE specifications for structuring and dissemination. There are several promising steps to be presented and discussed in view of future strategies to mitigate the humanitarian disaster in crisis regions in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, the paper will not disclose scientific progress in Earth Observation and GIS, but will actually demonstrate an urgently needed new combination of existing methods to support actual needs. The societal benefits of EO/GIS are no longer just potential possibilities, but actual results in real political, administrative and humanitarian day to day reality.
Topic Area: [1.1] Climate change Abstract Type: Oral Presentation
Comments: Refugee streams, Data Mining, Earth Observation, INSPIRE, Mitigation of migration
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