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Data analysis & data visualization highlight war?s impact on life exp.
25 Feb, 2011 - Lachlan James

We all know war is a brutal endeavor. It has devastating effects on people, place and livelihood. Using data analysis and data visualization, we can plot the effect of war on life expectancy, linking changes in the data to real-life conflicts.

Today’s data sets have been sourced from:

Sierra Leone vs Somalia (Life expectancy at birth July 15 1960 – July 14 2008)

Sierra Leone’s average life expectancy slumps in the 90s. This dip coincides with Sierra Leone’s Civil War, which began 23 March 1991, when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) attempted to overthrow the Momoh government, initiating an 11-year civil conflict that killed approximately 50,000 people.



Civil War broke out in Somali in 1991. This is reflected in the drop in average life expectancy around the same time. The conflict, remains ongoing, comprises a series of rows between a variety of militant islamist and tribalist factions.



Sierra Leone vs Somalia vs Cambodia (Life expectancy at birth July 15 1960 – July 14 2008)

The 70s was a devastating and infamous time in Cambodia’s history, where at its lowest point in 1975/76, the average life expectancy plummeted to 33 years of age. It began when Prince Sihanouk was removed from power in 1970 by a right-wing US-backed military coup. Sihanouk joined forces with Pol Pot to oppose the new military government. In the same year, the US also invaded Cambodia in an attempt to stamp out the strong North Vietnamese presence along the Cambodian border.



The US waged a bombing campaign in Cambodia between 1969 and 1973, designed to destroy North Vietnamese havens. Around 150,000 Cambodian’s were killed as a result. Pol Pot, leader of the notorious Khmer Rouge, seized power amidst the economic and military ruin in 1976. Pol Pot was Prime Minister between 1976 – 1979. Over that period he led a mass ethnic cleansing movement that resulted in the deaths of over two million people.



Sierra Leone vs Somalia vs Cambodia vs Rwanda (Life expectancy at birth July 15 1960 – July 14 2008)

Unrest was mounting in the late 80s in Rwanda, culminating in the beginning of the Rwandan Civil War in 1990, when the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded northern Rwanda in a bid to overthrow the Hutu-led government.



Then came the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, where over a 100-day period, an estimated 850,000 people were murdered – close to 20 percent of the country’s population. The average life expectancy dropped form 47 in July 1984, to around 27 in 93/94.



Sierra Leone vs Somalia vs Cambodia vs Rwanda vs Iraq (Life expectancy at birth July 15 1960 – July 14 2008)

Finally, the Iraq War, beginning 20 March 2003, has reversed Iraq’s steadily climbing life expectancy.



The conflict has driven Iraq's average life expectancy downwards, from 70.9 years in July 2000, to 67.9 in July 2008.



Conclusion: Just when you thought BI, data analysis and data visualization was all business…

Not only can data analysis via Business Intelligence solutions and data visualization help businesses understand complex trends, and capitalize on emerging opportunities; they can promote humanity by exposing the tyranny of war, civil unrest and the true consequences and brutality of unjust regimes.

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