The International Rescue Committee (IRC), in partnership with Google and Mercy Corps, has launched RefugeeInfo.eu, a website accessible by mobile phone that provides up-to-date, location-specific information to refugees arriving in Europe.
The site, which debuted in Lesbos, Greece, the main entry point to Europe for refugees fleeing Syria and other countries, provides information about the available lodging, transportation options, humanitarian services, medical facilities and the crucial registration process. It also outlines important laws that affect new arrivals, informing them of their rights and responsibilities as a refugee in Europe, and is available in multiple languages including Arabic, Pashto, Farsi and Greek. The site is open-source and will remain in development as new services are added.
“Smart deployment of technology can save lives,” says Rey Rodrigues, the IRC’s emergency technology coordinator. “RefugeeInfo combines private-sector thinking with the on-the-ground presence and the experience of the IRC to tackle the problem of misinformation facing refugees.” The site will facilitate access to the best and most current information as soon as it becomes available, accessible on low-bandwidth, battery-saving platforms compatible with cell-phone technology, he adds.
Designed and deployed by the IRC, with early support from Google, the scalable resource is built so that it can be deployed to more countries along the route refugees are taking. The site will allow local partners to provide emergency contacts and other vital information specific to the geographic area where the site is accessed.
RefugeeInfo is currently online and in use in Lesbos, with plans to deploy on the Greek island Kos next month.