The 700,000 Rohingya Muslims living in refugee camps in Bangladesh faced new risks in 2018 following their dramatic flight from Myanmar. Early in the year, aid agencies feared the monsoon season would imperil thousands of Rohingya crammed into flimsy huts on muddy hillsides. They were right.
The Reuters Graphics team set out to analyse and visualise the dangers at the largest camp, Kutupalong-Balukhali. The result was a vivid, data-driven and comprehensive risk assessment.
What makes this project innovative?
The accurate combination of drone imagery and layers of extremely granular risk data make this project stand out from previous Rohingya coverage. Readers were also shown high resolution images of tent clusters that could be washed away, allowing the critical connection between the data and people at risk. The visuals, drone imagery, maps, data and text were combined in an immersive storytelling format to guide the reader through the layers of risk and also through the camp geographically.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
This piece brought home the immense risks faced by the Rohingya in Bangladesh. This resonated with readers and spread widely on social media. It delivered hard facts and granularity at a time when much of the written news was simply speculating on the threats of the impending monsoon.
Source and methodology
Reuters worked with aid agencies and gained access to unique high-resolution drone footage of the camp which was seamlessly stitched together, creating a picture far more detailed than satellite images. GPS tracking of the drones and geographical referencing of the images allowed the overlay of further risk assessment data in mapping software. Layers were added to show the camp’s terrain, with tents perched precariously on steep slopes, and how large areas of higher ground could be completely cut off by floods, restricting access to densely populated settlements and health clinics.
Simon Scarr, Weiyi Cai.