Disaster Resiliency

Initiatives / Impact Grants / Case Study

Forecasting the flow of refugees and migrants

IBM helped create an application that helps government agencies and aid organizations to foresee and better deal with human crises.


What we did

There are currently more than 68 million people forcibly displaced worldwide -- the most ever. They include refugees fleeing war and persecution, and migrants leaving poverty, environmental woes and other adversities.

Government agencies and humanitarian aid organizations typically react as crises occur. They use what resources they have to help those escaping their homelands. Often, it’s not enough.

But wouldn’t it be better to forecast migration patterns? It could improve the ways agencies and governments manage refugees” plights, easing crises.

IBM and the Danish Refugee Council, a global authority on migration, have developed a solution called Mixed Migration Foresight, or MM4Sight. This cloud-based application helps the council forecast migrations, both forced and voluntary, through various hypothetical scenarios, machine learning, advanced analytic, and statistical models.

MM4Sight is currently being used to predict migration from Ethiopia to six destination countries: Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Italy, Great Britain, Denmark, and Sweden. Eventually, this approach can be expanded to analyze other human migrations.

MM4Sight will better equip government agencies and aid organizations to:Ensure safe routes for refugees and migrants, and faster access to life-saving resources.

  • Know how to respond, and the impact of migration on those places they’re leaving and on those they’re heading to
  • Increase their effectiveness and save money
  • Make policy decisions ahead of time, based on data
  • Understand trends

Making smart use of data can help the most challenged people in the world.

See how IBM worked with the Danish Refugee Council develop ways to track and analyze the migration patterns of displaced persons.