On August 14, 2021 coalition forces started the evacuation of Afghans from Kabul’s international airport following the capture of the capital by the Taliban. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans rushed to the airport in the hope of escaping the country, fearing retribution and the harsh rule of the Taliban.
As locals from all over the city attempted their escape they needed to navigate various government eligibility policies, resulting in confusion and growing, panicked crowds. Afghans that had assisted coalition forces, along with their immediate families, and those who faced particular danger from the new regime applied, en masse, to be evacuated.
Estimates from UNHCR suggest that over 500,000 Afghans engaged in this process, many of whom contacted various governments to ask for help, resulting in one of the largest air evacuations ever. In addition to the sheer number of evacuees, further challenges arose when considering the highly dynamic and deteriorating security environment. Free movement in Kabul was highly restricted meaning that many could not contact governments for assistance until the last minute and the information provided by the hopeful evacuees was often lacking in necessary information.
Despite the very best efforts of the governments involved it was incredibly difficult for them to judge the eligibility of the applicants with the varying information provided, let alone develop a priority list for evacuation. This breakdown of communication meant that many applications were misread, misunderstood, or missed completely.
But could this have been avoided?
By using reporting software like ExInsight, governments could have created bespoke information networks to efficiently determine the eligibility of applicants. Quantitative and qualitative reports could have been created and distributed to applicants in a matter of minutes via phones or webforms.
In addition, applicants could upload critical documentation such as passports and visas and provide information regarding their security and medical status. All of this information, housed within one platform – where intelligent and intuitive auto analysis tools would have provided governments with a clear overview of the situation, priority lists and a system showing where applicants are and when they responded.
How ExInsight could help in a fast-moving situation.
By collating all applicant responses and documentation in one platform, decision makers would have access to all relevant information on each individual and their locations in real-time, displayed on maps, the individual’s file or in tabular form at the touch of a button.
All information provided would be triaged automatically to identify the most vulnerable applicants.
Reports would have been automatically collated and visualised clearly, meaning no time wasted sifting through emails, transcribing phone calls, or gathering information from social media such as WhatsApp.
ExInsight can automate the appropriate parts of the eligibility process while still allowing for human intervention when required. Vastly reducing required oversight and increasing the speed of the process.
All information collected would have been automatically sorted, filed and visualised providing a clear operational picture to all stakeholders allowing for effective decisions to be made faster.
With no common information network or reporting software in place, what happened in Kabul was sadly inevitable. And whilst the reporting of this particular situation was of global importance, many businesses and operations are making similar mistakes when it comes to truly understanding the crisis they are managing.