New documentary illustrates the scale of the refugee crisis

New documentary illustrates the scale of the refugee crisis


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More than 152 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance globally — and over 65.6 million have been forced to flee their homes. That’s why the ONE Campaign has been working over the past year to understand the challenges around combining and presenting data on refugees and internally displaced people. To accomplish this, we created MOVEMENT, a tool that aims to bring together data on these vulnerable populations’ movements, needs, and funding levels. It’s all in one place for the first time in order to form a more complete picture of humanitarian need and support.

A screenshot of ONE's new tool, MOVEMENT.

A screenshot of ONE’s data tool, MOVEMENT.

But activists and humanitarians aren’t the only ones paying attention, of course. Artists have been captivated by amplifying the voices of refugees and migrants, including renowned artist Ai Weiwei, whose new documentary, Human Flow, illustrates the scale of the refugee crisis and its human impact.

The documentary was filmed over the course of one year in 23 countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Greece, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Turkey. According to the film’s producer, Participant Media, “Human Flow is a witness to its subjects and their desperate search for safety, shelter and justice: from teeming refugee camps to perilous ocean crossings to barbed-wire borders; from dislocation and disillusionment to courage, endurance and adaptation; from the haunting lure of lives left behind to the unknown potential of the future.”

A still from the Kenya portion of "Human Flow." (Credit: Participant Media)

A still from the Kenya portion of “Human Flow.” (Credit: Participant Media)

With this film, Ai Weiwei’s goal was to share in the daily lives of people fleeing turmoil around the globe.

“As an artist, I always believe in humanity and I see this crisis as my crisis,” he says. “I see those people coming down to the boats as my family. They could be my children, could be my parents, could be my brothers. I don’t see myself as any different from them. We may speak totally different languages and have totally different belief systems but I understand them. Like me, they are also afraid of the cold and don’t like standing in the rain or being hungry. Like me, they need a sense of security.”

A boy in the Idomeni Camp in Greece. (Credit: Participant Media)

A boy in the Idomeni Camp in Greece. (Credit: Participant Media)

He continues: “As a human being, I believe any crisis or hardship that happens to another human being should be as if it is happening to us. If we don’t have that kind of trust in each other, we are deeply in trouble.”

Watch the trailer for Human Flow below, then check out MOVEMENT for more information about this humanitarian crisis.

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