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Ukraine: Making figures count − Visualizing displacement with an interactive map

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Since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine and the partition of the Donbas region in 2014, more than one million people have been registered as internally displaced in the government controlled areas of the country. Ongoing fighting and the impact of the conflict on livelihoods and employment have pushed hundreds of thousands from their homes, greatly affecting the population dynamics of eastern Ukraine as a whole. As the conflict edges towards its five year milestone, hope of de-escalation remains dim and a future of protracted displacement for thousands anticipated.

REACH was first deployed in Ukraine in 2015 in order to bolster coordination and humanitarian response through assessments and reporting in conflict affected regions in eastern Ukraine. Since then, REACH Ukraine has expanded its activities to include capacity building, establishment of ongoing engagement with aid actors, disseminating assessment findings including information on the needs of the displaced, humanitarian conditions of populations residing along the line of contact as well as figures on the access to services in the region. Among key information products developed over the years is the recent deployment of an online interactive map based on the displacement data maintained by the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine.

The interactive IDP mapping interface contains three maps presenting the following information: 1) number of IDPs, 2) change in numbers of IDPs and 3) proportion of IDPs in relation to host populations. The interactive map allows the user to explore current IDP figures per raion (administrative unit), with a corresponding chart displaying change in IDP figures since 2015. Data for the map is updated monthly, meaning that the interactive maps are automated to reflect recent developments on the ground.

As the conflict and corresponding displacement persists, creating tools for information sharing has become a vital exercise for the understanding the changing humanitarian situation. Keeping up with ever-evolving ways to visualize and disseminate data, interactive maps serve as an intuitive and engaging platform with which to demonstrate the effects of the conflict from its sudden onset up to most recent developments.