Google launches Crisis Info Hub for refugees, an open resource project aiming to aid the over 700,000 people crossing into Europe just this year.
Asylum seekers are in dire need of information provided in their language on critical topics. Recently, Google released an online call for crowdfunding. The donations received via the online call reached 5.5 million dollars. Google matched the amount, thus announcing 11 million dollars to be invested in the Crisis Info Hub project.
Google.org teamed up with NetHope, a humanitarian group providing online access for emergencies in remote locations. Refugee camps are the location where internet access is paramount for communication and accurate information. Emergency funds are also send in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency to people in Lebanon, as well as Jordan.
Crisis Info Hub is designed for easy access, with rapid loading and safeguards for battery power. While the asylum seekers crossing into Europe have access to technology, they lack internet connection or sources for charging their phones.
According to Jacqueline Fuller, the director of Google.org, the philanthropic organization project was born as:
“Unlike some disasters, this was one where many of the people in dire need already have phones and are used to using phones to get information”.
The Crisis Info Hub was also launched in partnership with the International Rescue Committee, as well as Mercy Corps. The paramount information that asylum seekers crossing over to Europe need relate to accommodation possibilities, as well as transport and transport routes.
Entering a country and the bureaucratic process are also part of the much-needed information package. Volunteers work relentlessly to offer these people the best of information and some resources. However, language barriers may sometimes come in the way of efficient communication. As such, Crisis Info Hub offers the information in English and Arabic.
While Google launches Crisis Info Hub for refugees at the best of times, detailed information is only available for the island of Lesbos, Greece. This has been the landmark entry point for the majority of those crossing into Europe in life-threatening journeys.
However, Google.org announced that soon more locations will be added. Volunteers are required for translating information on legislation, health care, transportation, banking services, accommodation.
Part of the 11 million dollars raised by Google has been used in support of the committed work of organizations such as Save the Children, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, or Doctors without Borders.
Photo Credits: MobileSyrup
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