Tech Talk: How technology is helping Syrian refugees

The current refugee crisis is highlighting how important technology, including smart phones, social media and the Internet, has become to people affected by humanitarian crises.
Hospitals, Red Cross and Red Crescent services, how to treat burns and perform CPR, and finding routes to safety in Europe. You may be surprised to know that those are some of the top Google searches conducted by people currently living in Syria. For the millions of people who have been affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria, the Internet often accessed through mobile phones has become a lifeline by providing access to critical information.
Syrians Turn to Google for Help

The top Google search results coming out of Syria indicate the refugee crisis won't be ending anytime soon.

Posted by AJ+ on Tuesday, September 29, 2015

These search results from Syria as presented in the video by AJ+ are in stark contrast to some of the trending topics Canadians were researching using Google in 2014 which included celebrities, the iPhone 6, the Winter Olympics and the World Cup. 

Syrians are also staying in touch with family members using messaging apps such as Whatsapp. This is how one family was able to reunite with their brother in Germany upon their arrival at a Red Cross camp recently, as described by a Canadian aid worker in this blog post
Access is to smart phones is particularly high among young refugees. Researchers from Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology conducted a survey in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan earlier this year and found that 86% of youth owned a mobile phone.
Refugees in Hungary. Photo credit: Stephen Ryan / IFRCSmart phones equipped with GPS and maps are also proving to be a vital tool for refugees who are leaving Syria and travelling often by foot to seek refuge in Europe.
The Canadian Red Cross is supporting the emergency response to the refugee crisis with financial support, as well as relief items and trained personnel. Canadians can donate to the Refugee Crisis Fund.

Photo credit: Stephen Ryan/IFRC 

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