Joel Arken Introduction to GIS 17 May 2014 Central African Republic: IDP Camp Suitability ABSTRACT The conflict in Central African Republic between Christian and Muslim militia groups, the Central African government and peacekeepers has affected over a million people in the region. IDP camps are currently located in and bordering major cities. These sites are unsustainable and often sites for violence. This study aims to locate the areas in the country that would be most suitable for IDP settlements. The project considers proximity to markets, roads, conflict sites, urban hazard, and altitude to find the sites most suitable for the creation of new IDP settlements. The project specifically notes the availability of settlements in the northern states in Central African Republic, separated from the regular violence in the more populated South. 38 sites that could serve 10,000 to 20,000 internally displaced people were identified in the states of Bamingui-Bangoran, Vakaga and Haute-Kotto. When these sites were uploaded into Google Earth, their proximity to conflict areas of the South Sudan border area and Darfur made them less suitable, considering the cross-border fluidity of these conflicts. Further studies identifying suitable sites for IDP settlements considering recent, transnational conflicts would benefit humanitarian planners working in the region.
INTRODUCTION The ongoing sectarian crisis in Central African Republic is a human rights disaster. Over a million people have been affected by militia violence in the former French colony. 300,000 refugees fled the country and over 600,000 people are displaced inside the state. Violence continues in the current IDP camps, located adjacent to large urban areas. One camp in the capital Bangui holds over 200,000 people and is home to some of the worst violence and abuse. 1 This geospatial analysis project identifies sites that would be suitable for creating sustainable IDP camps in Central African Republic. The detailed site selection process yields more sustainable suitable sites for IDP locations than those that currently exist around the major cities in CAR. The project identifies several locations placed proximal far from most cases of violence and recent human rights abuses. 1
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Central African Republic Situation: UNHCR External Regional Update #8." March 2014. Accessed online at <http://www.unhcr.org/52fa46209.pdf> on May 17, 2014.
DATA SYNOPSIS The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) is a digital collection service, highlighting the most recent conflicts between armed parties in Africa. I utilized this website for a full shapefile of African conflicts from 1997-2013, which I sorted and selected into a shapefile of 2012-2013 conflict sites in Central African Republic. DIVA-GIS is a free repository of geospatial data and information, especially administrative and simple topological features and shapefiles. I utilized this website for administrative boundaries, country boundaries, a road map and an altitude feature. The World Resources Institute (WRI) is an international institution specializing in resource management and provides many kinds of free data around topics of conservation and governance. I utilized this research institution for data on roads and habitats, which I used as market proximity data. Natural Earth provides free raster data from satellite imagery, as well as shapefiles of the world. I used this service for global administrative boundary shapefiles and for a raster of the relief map of the world. Baruch Geoportal is a service run by the Baruch College in New York that offers lots of free global data. I utilized this website for UTM files for facilitation of my project and for a shapefile of the world's major cities. Google Earth is a software run by the Google Corporation that uses KML data and compiles satellite imagery to project images of the world. I used Google Earth images of Central African Republic to view how many final suitability sites correspond to the real world.
METHODOLOGY & ANALYSIS Using the framework from previous suitability exercises, the suitability was designated as a space that was • • • • •
Within five miles of a road Within twenty-five miles of a market Twenty-five miles away from a city Twenty-five miles away from a 2012-2013conflict site At an altitude between 2 and 7%
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To determine suitability, first a shapefile of the roads in Central African Republic was buffered at five miles, followed by a buffering of the markets at twenty-five miles. These two buffers were intersected to make a combined road and market access layer. Next, the urban hazards (large cities) were buffered at twenty five miles, as well as all the sites of conflict between armed parties in 2012 and 2013. The hazard buffers were clipped from the road and market access layer, creating a rudimentary access shapefile of buffered areas. An altitude raster file was analyzed using the slope tool, and the resulting slope raster was reclassed to show identify the areas with a slope between two and seven degrees. A raster calculation was then used to show the areas where the slope was ideal and intersected with the access layer. This created a Boolean shapefile of suitable and unsuitable areas. The area of each suitable site was identified, which was then used to calculate the capacity of each site. The sites that could hold between 10000 and 20000 people were exported and converted into points. I paid special attention to the 38 sites identified in the North of the state, so I exported these sites. To compare these sites to the real world context, the northern suitable sites were converted to a KML file and inputted into Google Earth and analyzed with a regional context via Google Earth.
RESULTS A synopsis of project results, findings and features of the project. (approximately 1/2-1 page). 484 sites that were suitable with all five designations were identified through the project. 446 were identified in the central and southern areas of the state and 38 were identified in the three most northern states. Because violence is more pronounced in the southern and eastern states, the 38 northern suitable sites were separated and exported. The northern suitable sites are located around a national reserve in the Chaine Des Mongos Mountains. This made sense because most of the state is rather flat, so the suitably sloped areas would be near mountains or hill ranges. The geographic context of these sites was suitable. It was also shown that the highly suitable sites in the North were too close to the South Sudan border and Darfur region for adequate safety and security of the sites. The social context of these northern sites was therefore suboptimal. My additional consideration of looking for northern sites should be reconsidered for a future project where additional designations of international and especially transnational conflicts are added to the research. These next set of results could be given to humanitarian planners.
REFERENCES Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project. "ACLED Version 4 (1997-2013)." 2014. Accessed online at < http://www.acleddata.com/data/version-4-data-1997-2013/> on April 28, 2014: "Full1997-2013Africa," shapefile Baruch College CUNY, "Baruch Geoportal." 2014. Accessed online at <http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/geoportal/data/esri/esri_intl.htm> on April 28, 2014: "utmzone," shapefile "cities," shapefile Google Earth,."8°42'19.97" N, 22°39'45.84" E" April 2013. Accessed May 7, 2014. —, "8°36'45.02" N, 20°16'35.90" E" January 2007. Accessed May 7, 2014. Hijmans, R. "Download data by country: Central African Republic." DIVA-GIS. 2014. Accessed online at < http://www.diva-gis.org/gdata> on April 22, 2014: "CAF_Roads," shapefile "CAF_adm0," shapefile "CAF_adm1," shapefile "CAF_msk_alt," shapefile Natural Earth, "1:10m Natural Earth II," 2014. Accessed online at <http://www.naturalearthdata. com/downloads/10m-raster-data/10m-natural-earth-2/> on May 1, 2014: "NE2_LR_LC_SR," raster —, "Admin 0 – Boundary Lines." 2014. Accessed online at <http://www.naturalearthdata.com/ downloads/10m-cultural-vectors/10m-admin-0-boundary-lines/> on April 22, 2014: "ne_10m_admin_0_countries," shapefile World Resources Institute. "Congo Basin Forest Atlases." 2014. Accessed online at <http://www.wri.org/our-work/project/congo-basin-forests/central-african-republic> on April 29, 2014: "RCA_Habitats_2012," shapefile "RCA_Routes," shapefile