The United Nations is using the mapping programme Google Earth to highlight the plight of millions of refugees and its humanitarian work to help them.
The outreach programme, a joint initiative between the internet giant and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), weaves together satellite maps, photos, videos and eyewitness accounts to give viewers a close-up look at the refugee crises in Iraq, Chad, Columbia and Darfur in Sudan.
It allows users to find out about UNHCR operations, locate refugee camps and discover the impact of the humanitarian crises on neighboring countries such as Sudan, Syria and Ecuador.
Users can explore the lives of those in exile by clicking on exact locations in the refugee camps to see photos of the facilities, such as health clinics, schools, water taps and sanitation. There are pop-up videos of specific operations and events, such as a visit to a Chad refugee camp by the actor and UN goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie.
“All of the things that we do for refugees in the refugee camps around the world will become more visible,” U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees L. Craig Johnstone said at the launch in Geneva.