Following the 2010 earthquake, the Flowminder team analysed the movements of two million anonymous mobile phones in Haiti, in order to track population movements following the disaster.
Digicel Haiti provided Flowminder and other oganizations anonymized data on the position of 1.9 million SIMs in Haiti from 42 days before the 2010 earthquake to 158 days afterwards. Nearly 200,000 SIMs that were present in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince when the earthquake struck had left 19 days post-earthquake. Just under a third of Port-au-Prince’s inhabitants were mobile phone subscribers at the time of the earthquake, so this movement of SIMs equates to the movement of 630,000 people.
Through this collaboration with Digicel Haiti, Flowminder was able to analyze the movement of two million anonymous mobile phones in Haiti that corresponded closely to the real mobility of the population after the earthquake. This data provided critical support to the UN and other relief agencies, and also helped predict post-earthquake population displacement patterns. This research and information will allow other organizations better prepare relief activities even before natural disasters strike.