Fri, Mar 3, 2023 at 12:00pm — 01:30pm
    CGIS South, Harvard University
    S050: Thomas Chan-Soo Kang Room
    1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02138


A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey’s southern Kahramanmaraş province on Monday, February 6 at 4:17 a.m. local time. About nine hours later, a second 7.5 magnitude quake occurred 60 miles north of the initial quake’s epicenter. The earthquake is among the worst the world has seen in a century.

As of early March 2023, the quakes have impacted an estimated 23 million people in Turkey and Syria. The total death toll in both countries has exceeded 50,000 — and several more have sustained serious injuries. Around 3 million have been displaced, with 1.6 million sheltering in the affected areas, 323,000 sheltering outside of the most-affected areas, and 900,000 sheltering elsewhere under their own means.

As response operations in the region continue, CrisisReady and the Harvard Data Science Initiative (HDSI) hosted a Data in Crises event on Friday, March 3, 2023 to learn how organizations are responding to the disaster and preparing for the complexities of recovery.

While data analysis and on-the-ground relief operations are making an impact, organizations are encountering limits to the use of data and the efficacy of field responses. Given the acute challenges of conflict and displacement in the region, all humanitarian efforts must grapple with serious legal, ethical, and technical obstacles in order to make an impact at scale. Together with speakers from medical and humanitarian organizations working in Turkey and Syria, speakers at the event considered how novel data streams can be used to save lives and guide equitable, long-term recovery.

CGIS South, Harvard University
S050: Thomas Chan-Soo Kang Room
1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Online via Zoom

Event Recording


Dr. Caroline Buckee

Co-Director, CrisisReady
Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

In addition to co-directing CrisisReady, Dr. Caroline Buckee is a Professor of Epidemiology, and the Associate Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

She has recently been selected to lead a research cluster supported by the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability at Harvard University. Alongside an interdisciplinary team, Buckee will study the effects of climate change in South Asia to advance climate adaptation research and implementation at the household, community, state, and federal levels in the region.

Dr. Andrew Schroeder

Co-Director, CrisisReady
Vice President of Research and Analysis, Direct Relief

In addition to co-directing CrisisReady, Dr. Andrew Schroeder is the Vice President of Research and Analysis for Direct Relief, where he leads the organization’s work in GIS mapping, epidemiological analysis, and humanitarian informatics.

Dr. Schroeder is the co-founder of the COVID-19 Mobility Data Network, a global network of infectious disease experts and public health responders dedicated to real-time digital epidemiological analysis during the COVID-19 pandemic and future health emergencies. He is also the co-founder and Board President of the global nonprofit WeRobotics.org, which builds local capacity in robotics applications for humanitarian aid, development, and global health in 30 countries around the world.

Özge Acar

Technical Coordinator
NeedsMap Social Cooperative

Özge is a Technical Coordinator at NeedsMap, a social cooperative that connects people in-need with individuals, institutions and organizations that can support them. She has an extensive history of working in geospatial data, and is well-versed in Arcgis products, digital mapping, databases, data collection, and geo-informatics.

Dr. Abdulfatah Elshaar

Chairman, Syrian American Medical Society
Internal Medicine Physician, Sturdy Memorial Hospital

Dr. Elshaar is the Syrian American Medical Society’s Chairman and has served on its Board for the last four years. He graduated from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1996, and he works in Norwood, MA, and 3 other locations and specializes in Internal Medicine. Dr. Elshaar is affiliated with Sturdy Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Samer Attar

Medical Volunteer, Syrian American Medical Society
Orthopedist, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Dr. Attar is an orthopedist in Chicago and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. He received his medical degree from the University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences and The Pritzker School of Medicine.

He has been in practice for more than 20 years, and has served as a volunteer with the Syrian American Medical Society on multiple medical missions, including in the February 2023 earthquake response in NW Syria; during the besiegement of Aleppo, and in frontline hospitals in Ukraine in 2022.

Nathaniel Raymond

Yale University School of Public Health; Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University

Nathaniel Raymond is a Lecturer in Department of the Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases (EMD) at YSPH and a Lecturer of Global Affairs at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. His research interests focus on the health implications of forced displacement; methodologies for the assessment of large-scale disasters, including pandemics; and the human rights and human security implications of information communication technologies (ICTs) for vulnerable populations, particularly in the context of armed conflict.

Can Unen

OpenStreetMap Trainer for the Asia-Pacific Regional Hub
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap, Turkey

Can is the OpenStreetMap Trainer for the Asia-Pacific Regional Hub. Based in Turkey, he specializes in GIS-based applications used for disaster management and seismic loss assessment. He also spent time at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) as a visiting researcher at the Mid-America Earthquake Center during 2008 and 2009.

If you have questions about this event, please contact Joe Nallen at jnallen@hsph.harvard.edu.

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