As the Syrian civil war enters year four, thousands of people are seeking shelter in other European countries. But unlike refugees of years-gone-by, they aren’t making the journey with only a compass. The smartphone is guiding their way and empowering migrants to make smarter decisions and changing the way aid is delivered to them.
Srba Jovanovic, an aid worker for ‘Refugee Aid Serbia’ said almost every young male refugee he’s seen has a smartphone. They provide a life-line to their family and friends. Apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype are all widely used especially because of the low-costs of making communication across borders compared to normal phone calls.
By combining these methods of communication with Google Maps means refugees are able to make their own way like never before, without the horrendous prices and conditions of people-traffickers. Foreign currency conversion & calculator apps also help them from getting ripped-off as they cross borders into different currency areas.
Some opportunists are charging refugees up to $20 for a cell-phone SIM card worth $1.50 and some taxi drivers are charging five times what a journey would actually cost.
Kate Coyer from the University of Budapest, Hungary got together with tech-activist friends and designed a battery-powered Wi-Fi hotspot-in-a-backpack from common local parts and components.
About the first of September 2015, Hungarian authorities attempted to trick hundreds of refugees into getting onto a train heading for a refugee camp by telling them it was going to Austria and Germany. But people on the train communicated with Budapest and warned against boarding.
Read Article (Rob Price | businessinsider.com | 09/09/2015)
Having and knowing how to use a mobile device can be invaluable before, during and after a crisis -for all family members and friends.
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