ISCRAM 2013: Social Media-based Event Detection for Crisis Management in the Za’atari Refugee Camp

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Authors: Maximilian Walther, Sven Schaust, Michael Kaisser
AGT International

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  • BundesanstaltTechnischesHilfswerk = Federal Agency for Technical Relief
  • - United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees- Clusters - Water - Health - Nutrition - Logistics - Education - Protection- THW structure - Office in Amman (1/3 of THW employees; 1h distance from the camp) - Head of mission - Administrator - Helpers - HOM Assistant (responsible for information management) - 3 drivers - 2 employees for data analysis - Employees in the camp (2/3 of THW employees)
  • Microsoft Bing Translator API http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/translator/developers.aspx (2.000.000 charsarefree per month)
  • ISCRAM 2013: Social Media-based Event Detection for Crisis Management in the Za’atari Refugee Camp

    1. 1. Social Media-based Event Detection for Crisis Management in the Za’atari Refugee Camp Maximilian Walther, Sven Schaust, Michael Kaisser ISCRAM, Baden-Baden, 14.05.2013
    2. 2. 2 Scenario: Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan • General Information (December 2012) • Camp for Syrian refugees escaping from Assad regime • Located 15 kilometers south of the Syrian border • Size of 220 hectares with 5,000 shelters and 500 infrastructure/support buildings • About 80,000 Syrians (numbers vary based on political intention) On-site Relief Organizations • Governmental • French Foreign Legion, Moroccan Military, THW (Disaster Preparedness, Germany), USAID (Development Agency, USA), … • Non-governmental • ACTED (Development Charity, FR), MercyCorps (Humanitarian Aid, USA), Norwegian Red Cross, Oxfam (Development Charity, UK), Save the Children (Development Charity, UK), UNHCR (Refugees Group, UN), UNICEF (Child-related, Int.), …
    3. 3. 3 Infrastructure Buildings Refugee Tents built before Sep 3 2012 Refugee Tents built before Nov 15 2012
    4. 4. 4 Twitter-based Za’atari Analysis • Setup • Time periods: October 2012, February and March 2013 • Filtering of incoming tweet stream • Location-based: only tagged tweets within 200km radius of camp • Keyword-based: Za‟atari, , Syrian refugees, … • Machine-based translation to English • Clustering by similar content (ngrams on char/word base, URLs, etc.) Statistics • ~50,000 tweets/day in monitored region • Reduction to ~20 relevant tweets/day by… • Removal of non-camp-related tweets • Deduplication (retweets, double postings, etc.) • Few tweets directly posted from camp (but based on personal visit) • Languages: Arabic, English, French, Spanish, Italian, …
    5. 5. 5 Subjects of debate in Za‘atari • „Hot Topics“ • Riots • Refugee numbers • Campaigns for public help • Infrastructure • Diseases • Security situation • On-site recordings • Other Topics • Camp closing campaigns • Dealing (drugs, tents, etc.) • Education • On-site institutions • Religion/Proselytization • Renegades • Water problems • Weather conditions
    6. 6. 6 Distribution of Za‘atari Tweets (here: r = 350km)
    7. 7. 7 Refugee Numbers • Massive Increase through Newcomers and Births • Feb 14 2013 22:38:46: „More than 110,000 Syrian refugees in camp Zaatari in Jordan: http://t.co/fTNIIzPD #Syria“ (on Arabic) • Feb 19 2013 16:56:00: „2,000 births every three months in Zaatari http://t.co/r9BrtzSx“ (on Arabic) • Mar 02 2013 21:21:26: „Visiting Zaatari camp in Northern Jordan where 120,000 refugees are living, 5,000 newcomers ariving every day http://t.co/zTzhTTyyIN“ (on Arabic) • Mar 03 2013 17:33:52: „148,000 Syrians in Zaatari http://t.co/WxzDLyVDFR“ (on Arabic) • Mar 13 2013 07:59:34: „Every day, 8 babies are born in #Zaatari. See how we take care of young mothers http://t.co/zKPr28WRqy #UNICEF“ (on Arabic)
    8. 8. 8 Diseases • Hepatitis, Anemia, Aids • Feb 14 2013 14:08:00: „Syrian child in camp Zaatari, Jordan, infected with hepatitis, need fast help in a hospital... http://t.co/x12K1q8O“ (on Arabic) • Feb 14 2013 23:15:44: „60 women in Zaatari suffer from anemia http://t.co/VI78m55v“ (on Arabic) • Feb 21 2013 08:25:32: „At copy date: 4 cases of AIDS in Zaatari - News Everywhere http://t.co/u8ABbK8QQq“ (on Arabic)
    9. 9. 9 Security Situation • Criminals and Criminal Organizations in the Camp • Feb 13 2013 15:53:11: „Gang of 21 Syrian refugees going by the name of „Intimidation and Terror“ arrested http://t.co/a3XcRTGv ...“ (on Arabic) • Mar 08 2013 11:36:04: „Kidnapping of employees in Zaatari, here is what happened … http://t.co/JCQNYaP9hx“ (on Arabic) • Mar 11 2013 12:49:52: „Zaatari: Arrest of refugee and his wife possessing half a kilo of heroin! http://t.co/o1bFuTXs8X“ (on Arabic)
    10. 10. 10 Details for Fire on Mar 08 2013 (1) • 1. Fire breaks out • Mar 08 2013 11:06:03: „Jordan – Large-scale fire in Zaatari Camp... http://t.co/Si1fECeUB9“ (on Arabic) • Mar 08 2013 11:06:48: „URGENT: Zaatari is burning...! Details in the following link: http://t.co/6oOyADTruE“ (on Arabic) • 2. Identification of Riots • Mar 08 2013 11:06:50: „Major riots in Zaatari camp and attacks to security forces and journalists“ (on Arabic) • Mar 08 2013 11:24:37: „Chaos and a huge fire in Zaatari http://t.co/c2snjF5wqa“ (on Arabic)
    11. 11. 11 Details for Fire on Mar 08 2013 (2) • 3. Intervention of Rescue Teams • Mar 08 2013 11:44:15: „Civil Defense extinguishes the fire in some tents in camp Zaatari“ (on Arabic) • Mar 08 2013 11:48:49: „Fire fighters intervene in camp #Zaatari and succeed in controlling the fire and prevent it from reaching out to the remaining tents or killing camp habitants“ (on Arabic) • 4. Follow-up Analysis • Mar 09 2013 16:55:50: „After the fire which destroyed 100 tents in #Zaatari, ACTED, UNICEF, and THW removed the coaled debris http://t.co/z1B2LGSawl“ (on Arabic) • Mar 11 2013 11:27:13: „One dead, two children injured in Zaatari fire http://t.co/NErEZw2AUY“ (on Arabic)
    12. 12. 12 Video posted about Fire on Mar 08 2013
    13. 13. 13 Conclusions • Potential and Limitations of Social Media Analysis in Zaatari • Continuous information flow, links to further reading • Assessment of „general mood“ in the camp • Detection of events including riots, diseases, water problems, etc. • Less tweets due to bad infrastructure and missing real-time value • Judgement by THW experts • Value for Head of Mission in Amman • Better assessment of camp state (e.g., 1-pager for weekly meeting) • Efficient communication with agencies about certain announcements • Value for employees in general • Fast development of expert knowledge • Understanding of how Jordan treats the whole situation • Value for THW Headquarters in Bonn • Automatize creation of daily press analysis The feedback we got from Mr. Eger (THW) was that Social Media analysis could provide them with the answer to the big question „What are people concerned about in Za„atari and Jordan?“ which can give them directions on how to drive their mission. …and what do you think about it?
    14. 14. 14 Thanks for Your Attention! mwalther@agtinternational.com
    15. 15. 15 Relevance of Social Media in Disaster Zones • Founded in March 2006, allows for 140 chars/message • roughly 5-10% of all tweets with GPS coordinates • Around 5,800 tweets/second (November 2012) • 500 million tweets/day (~75GB/day) • Relevance of Twitter for emergency situations (e.g., Sandy) • „Following #Sandy On Twitter Could Save Your Life” Source • Live sharing of what is happening in front of peoples„ doors • After Sandy„s first day in NYC: 233,000 Sandy photos on Twitter • „Taxis underwater- Hoboken #Sandy pic.twitter.com/gZRmFihx”
    16. 16. 16 Information Exploitation • Assessment of „General Mood“ • Analysis of content in relation to positive or negative sentiments concerning events, topics, etc. • Early Detection of Arising Crisis Situations • Trivial: long queues, traffic problems, … • Severe: mass panics, attacks, floods, fires, … • Alternative Communication Channel • E.g., Loveparade • Broken communication channel of police • Visitors still able to share content over Social Media platforms
    17. 17. 17 Live Documentation of Camp Visit • National Center for Human Rights (Jordan) • Feb 14 2013 12:34:38: „An entry of Zaatari while we„re arriving. http://t.co/dQALcTfT“ (on Arabic) • Feb 14 2013 12:48:03: „Hamad Ruwaili and Biskaka Hohle Saad Al Shammari, director of the soup kitchenafter we arrived in camp Zaatari. http://t.co/60ww1cqF“ (on Arabic) • Feb 14 2013 12:55:26: „In front of the vehicle of a charity organization in Camp Zaatari. http://t.co/9rg2NaiR“ (on Arabic) • Feb 14 2013 12:56:21: „Distribution of food baskets in Camp Zaatari. http://t.co/V8tdQVnC“(on Arabic)
    18. 18. 18 Riots in Camp Za’atari • Small Riots • Feb 13 2013 16:40:47: „Street pulse: New riots in Zaatari“ (on Arabic) • Feb 16 2013 19:16:33: „Riots in Zaatari caused by missing gas bottles http://t.co/QOYztrfO http://t.co/IXb2ltqX“ (on Arabic) • Feb 18 2013 09:09:47: „Protests in Zaatari against power blackouts and security situation; http://t.co/w97dHuK5 http://t.co/IGszbTq9“ (on Arabic) • Big Riots with Camp Fires • Feb 18 2013: Fire in the camp • Death of a 7-year old • Subsequent riots • Mar 08 2013: Huge fire of more than 20 tents • One person dead, several perople injured
    19. 19. 19 Details for Fire on Feb 18 2013 • 1. First Details about Fire and Casualties (12 Tweets) • Feb 18 2013 22:18:24: „Fire in camp Zaatari in one of the tents kills 7-year-old boy... http://t.co/KBzYwDyo“ (on Arabic) • 2. Riots are spreading (14 Tweets) • Feb 19 2013 09:12:54: „http://t.co/jrTzQfVv Riots in Zaatari after death of a child“ (on Arabic) • 3. Further Details und Corrections (15 Tweets) • Feb 19 2013 14:03:17: „Girl dies in fire in Zaatari: A girl died in the age of 7, her father was injured and two of her brothers suffer from medium-degree burns... http://t.co/bTR1yfMf“ (on Arabic)
    20. 20. 20 Miscellaneous • Live-Stream to Friday Prayer in Camp • Feb 15 2013 10:53:54: „Jordan – direct broadcast to Friday Prayer in camp Zaatari http://t.co/ja4XuYdn“ (on Arabic) • Protestant Proselytization • Mar 12 2013 09:14:42: „Complaints about missionary activities in camp Zaatari! http://t.co/3z937riYb4“ (on Arabic) • Mar 12 2013 19:13:23: „Spreading evangelisation in camp Zaatari http://t.co/ecLow79mgb“ (on Arabic) • Flüchtlinge verkaufen Zelte für $100 (Wert $700) • Mar 12 2013 08:25:51: „Resale of tents in Zaatari... Prices at about $100 (Photo) #Jordan #Zaatari http://t.co/OT1wY7iHNq“ (on Arabic)

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