An Overview of the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM)

The patterns and trends of human mobility determine the arrangement of humanitarian assistance. Humanitarian actors need enough information on the composition and location of the concerned population to offer assistance and to react to the requirements appropriately. The conflicts and disasters have caused many displacements causing IOM to enhance the capacity of the current methodologies and systems of information management. To manage the response challenges effectively with a good awareness of human mobility, the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) was refined and improved by IOM. The system frequently captures, disseminates, and processes multi-layered data on the locations, mobility, needs, and vulnerabilities of the displaced as well as mobile populations throughout an issue.

DTM was conceptualized in Iraq in 2004 for tracking exercises and IDP assessments. The system has been frequently refined and improved over the years through its operational experience in natural disasters and conflict environments. They play a vital role in providing the basic information and data on displacement as well as population movements at the regional, national, and global levels. They support humanitarian partners, sectors, clusters, national authorities, stakeholders, etc. The implementations of DTM include natural disasters, conflict, and complex emergency settings from short-term, small-displacement to prolonged, large displacement cases.

DTM is also considered to be an effective mobility tool and supports both the transition and recovery phase regarding the reintegration and return processes. DTM can be integrated into activities of capacity building, mapping of probable displacement and evacuation sites, as well as setting up data-gathering mechanisms to remain vigilant before a disaster. This is how DTM is implemented as a tool for disaster preparedness.

Until November 2016, DTM provided internal displacement data to about 23 countries. When the information is available, more countries will be included in the matrix. The data offered by DTM includes demographics, the total number of people who are displaced, the conditions and needs of the people in the refugee camps, etc. The system also tracks secondary displacements and returns. This methodology predicts the initial stage of data collection using the major informants in the community and the data that is registered by the government. The second stage will be the validation of these data.

DTM has been effectively used to track different IDPs that are in the settings of the host community in countries like Iraq, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Nepal, Libya, Sudan, the Philippines, and Yemen. It has been successful in tracking cross-border combined migrations in the Central Mediterranean countries, Eastern Europe, Libya, and Nigeria.

DTM can be considered as a modular system that has several methods and tools that can be executed in different combinations corresponding to the practical needs of the existing situation. The operations of DTM are collective exercises. For wide access and coverage, IOM joins hands with humanitarian partners and national authorities.

DTM is proven to be highly effective in different countries to handle disasters and other major situations that lead to evacuation and displacement. With the advancement in technologies, further advantages can be expected from DTM.