What if we crowdsourced satellite imagery analysis of key cities in Syria to identify evidence of mass human rights violations? This is precisely the question that my colleagues at Amnesty International USA’s Science for Human Rights Program asked me following this pilot project I coordinated for Somalia. AI-USA has done similar work in the past with their Eyes on Darfur project, which I blogged about here in 2008.
Syria is currently experiencing the dramatic effects of a drought that has been affecting the country since 2006. Out of a total of 1,3 million people affected by the drought, the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform (MAAR) and the UN in Syria estimate that some 800,000 people corresponding to 75,641 households have been severely affected. Over the past three years, their income has decreased by 90% and their assets and sources of livelihood have been severely compromised.