11 Milliondisplaced syrians
18 Membersactively engaged
needed to aid transition
The Syrian Refugee Crisis is one of the largest humanitarian disasters in half a century.
Caught in the midst of horrific conflict, more than 11 million Syrian refugees are displaced: 7.5 million have been forced from their homes in search of safety and security. More than 4 million – mostly women and children – have fled the country entirely to neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. More than half of the country’s pre-war population is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and care.
In the midst of such upheaval, communications are critical to help refugees find assistance, connect with loved ones, and stay abreast of news updates. While many Syrian refugees are fortunate to have a mobile phone, technical infrastructure is lacking: Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, charging stations and sources of information that may help connect refugees to their families are few and far between. As a result, refugees do not have access at the very time when it is most urgently needed to navigate the long and perilous journey to safety.
After rigorous, in-depth analysis, NetHope and its members identified key ICT-related needs related to the Syria crisis: cell phone connectivity and charging along migration routes and in refugee camps, cyber security, a central information portal for refugees, and e-learning for young refugees.
To meet these needs, NetHope has mobilized its network of technical specialists to support responding organizations in the region and refugees wherever they are located. Most immediately, NetHope is implementing connectivity solutions in the rapidly-growing refugee camps in Jordan and providing connectivity kits for nonprofits working along the migration routes to assist refugees with mobile connectivity and recharging. Simultaneously, we are supporting the development of a comprehensive information portal for refugees to provide information about safe migration routes, locations offering humanitarian aid, acceptance into neighboring countries and the status of unrest in their home country.
Finally, recognizing that many refugees may be displaced for some time given the protracted nature of the conflict, we are developing approaches to provide e-learning to refugee children so that they can continue to learn and be prepared for life outside the camps.
Refugees continue to flee Syria with more than half of the country’s 22 million citizens fleeing the unprecedented violence. By all accounts, this crisis has affected more innocent women, men and children than any other crisis in the last half century. Almost 80% of all refugees are women and girls who are especially vulnerable as they flee to neighboring countries.
Mobile phones are an essential tool for refugees on the move. Aid agencies estimate that approximately 20-30% of all refugee families have a mobile phone. But most do not. Mobile phones are an essential resource for refugees to stay connected with their loved ones and to gather information that will assist them in their journeys to safety.
NetHope and many of its technology partners are launching a fund to connect refugees to family, friends, and refuge. For just $50, you can provide a new smartphone, SIM cards or airtime to refugee families in countries neighboring Syria and along the Europe migration route.
Let’s come together and to give refugees a voice.
Syrian refugees are traveling along the European migration route to Germany. Sometimes they are able to take trains and buses, but many must walk.
It is heart-breaking to imagine one’s life in such chaos…to conclude that your family has no future and so someone must risk a treacherous and unknown journey so that the rest of the family may live.Sean Callahan, COO, Catholic Relief Services. Testimony before the Helsinki Commission, October 20, 2015http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/aid-for-syrian-refugee-crisis-falls-far-short-congress-told-29161/
Photo credit: NRC/Christian Jepsen
Syrian refugees in Kawergosk camp.