For example; on seven occasions between January 2008 and January 2011, Metria has, with the aid of extremely high resolution satellite images, been mapping the refugee camps that spontaneously have emerged along the road that connects the city Afgooye in Somalia with the capital Mogadishu, the so called Afgooye Corridor. During early 2011, other cities and areas have been mapped by Metria, focusing on discovering groups of people that are refugees, living in temporary tents.
The green markings show how areas habitated by refugees in the so-called Afgooye Corridor, have expanded between 2008 (dark green areas), 2009/2010 (green areas) and January 2011 (bright mint-green areas). ©GCME 2011, provided under EC/ESA GSC-DA
Clients have been the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) and the UNOCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs). The tasks that Metria has performed for the UN has been the basis for assessing the number of Somali people that are refugees in their own country. These analyses, based on satellite data, have been onhe of the few sources of information about the crisis, since many aid agencies due to the safety hazard (among them, civil war) only in exceptional circumstances have been able to be in the area.
Satellite image showing temporary tents. UNHCR estimates that approx 2.3 persons on an average, live in each tent. ©GCME 2011, provided under EC/ESA GSC-DA
Refugee tent central Somalia, 2008 ©Noe Nielsen / SRSA, 2008
During the recent weeks, food shortage due to long term drought, has worsened the situation further for the people in Somalia. Besides civil war, certain regions are also struck by famine, so serious that it is classified as starvation by the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Therefore, in the context of the EU project GMES-SAFER, Metria has since the end of July delivered background data to partners within the project, that currently map the incurring emergency situation in Somalia, and to humanitarian agencies that are active in the area.
The data that Metria has provided, are satellite images from earlier this year and mappings of refugee camps from earlier time points. Partners within GMES-SAFER that currently perform the crisis mapping of the Horn of Africa, are DLR (German Space Agency) and EUSC (EU Satellite Centre). They use these data to be able to identify the development and migration of people in several affected regions of Somalia, for WFP, UNHCR and UNOCHA.
©Noe Nielsen / SRSA, 2008