#HackfromHome - an anti-viral virtual hackathon.

We’re giving people a chance to respond with action, working together to improve the lives of everyone affect by the Coronavirus. Our goal is to band together to help communities, patients, and their families better using what we know best - technology.

If possible, these ideas should preserve the privacy of individuals through the use of Personal Data Accounts. For more information on Personal Data Accounts read this.



Agent-based simulation of the spread of COVID19 disease within refugee camps

Refugee camps usually have a very high population density which makes them vulnerable to the spread of the pandemic. Within these camps, vulnerable groups extend beyond the old population and there are people with conditions like TB, HIV, malnutrition which expose them at a higher risk to the virus. Due to the lack of quarantine facilities in these camps, the virus left uncurbed will spread very quickly since young people and old people have regular interactions. There are already a relatively small number of medical staff working in the camps, lack of medical supply due to less attention paid to the refugee camps can mean that the medical staff are at a greater risk of getting infected.

We believe that an agent-based simulation approach can help for the reasons outlined below. The refugee camps are currently in shutdown so there is no influx or outflow of people so the geographical boundaries are contained. People in the camp follow a certain routine that can be predicted [assumption!] for example the family visiting the market for food supplies. Each household’s habitats can be estimated via satellite imagery and we know that each section of the camp has a community organisation where people constantly mingle [assumption!]. These mean that an agent-based simulation in such an environment is going to be representative of the real situation and modelling can inform the effectiveness of the different actions the camp authorities can take, for example, swap houses to gather the vulnerable people together in one quarter and set up a single entrance to that quarter where a hand-washing facility is taken. We aim to inform the camp authority the effective measures based on what we know and what our partner organisation on the ground know.

  • Guest
  • Apr 1 2020
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  • Amanda McCoy commented
    3 Apr 01:34pm

    Thanks for your idea supporting populations already in distress. My biggest concern is that awareness of and compassion for refugee wellbeing is decreasing overall. I would like to support technical and policy-based innovations to address these challenges and to avoid continued decline of refugee population advocacy. I have global contacts working on these issues, please reach out to discuss if I can be of assistance.

  • Jin I commented
    3 Apr 04:39am


  • Laura Smith commented
    2 Apr 09:53pm

    Hi Both my partner and I would be interested in being part of this project. We have experience building ABM models, but also have the ability to display model outputs in interactive visualisations in 3D. I think this would be of great interest to UN initiatives, as well as governments.

  • Azfar Adib commented
    2 Apr 04:50pm

    Great idea. Will love to mentor in any possible manner.

  • Guest commented
    2 Apr 12:59pm

    If you are interested in working on the project together with us, please message me on slack @Billy Zhao

  • Youngjin Yoo commented
    2 Apr 12:54pm

    I think ABS would be useful in general, not just within refugee camps! It can also generate simulation data of movements that can be used to test a number of different apps.

  • Xi Zhang commented
    2 Apr 05:55am

    Interesting idea! I'm passionate about refugees populations and would love to contribute to your project. I have a project management and consulting background.