- Ericsson and operators in Middle East announce the launch of the Refugees United service to help reach the nearly 800,000 Syrian refugees residing in Jordan and Iraq
- According to the UN, an estimated 2.4 million refugees from Syria have been forced to move to surrounding countries
- The Refugees United family reconnection platform will be made available to Syrian families via a mobile application and toll-free lines; awareness will be created using SMS campaigns in the countries surrounding Syria
The Ericsson Mobility Report estimated 803 million mobile subscriptions in Africa and 354 million in the Middle East in the third quarter of 2013. Capitalizing on the ever-growing mobile phone usage across the region, this intentionally low-tech initiative empowers refugees to take the search for missing family into their own hands - from any device.Christopher Mikkelsen, co-founder of Refugees United, says: "Everyone has the right to know where their family is. We are seeing camps quickly become crowded and family members losing touch with each other. We hope that the launch of this service and our toll-free line can prevent some family tragedies." Mobile operators will send text messages to people living in refugee camps and refugee prone areas, offering an opportunity to register for the service with toll-free lines and SMS. The hotline will be manned out of a Refugees United office, where people can get help with registrations and other questions. Scott Gegenheimer, Zain Group CEO, said: "Mobile telecommunications have played a critical part in saving countless people's lives and rejoining families in emergency situations all over the world. The need to act and support people in dire situations such as those suffered by Syrian refugees is as pressing as ever. Joining this initiative reconfirms Zain's commitment of using vital telecommunications to provide an important human service." Faruk Rasul, Chairman of Asiacell, said: "Connectivity is a basic human need and it is important for all of us as drivers of this connectivity to do everything we can to help Syrian refugees use this service to find their lost family members. "Mobile network technology is the most reliable and economical tool to connect the refugee camps to the world and provide their habitants with the means to communicate with their relatives, access health services, establish business and, most importantly educate their children," he continued.
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson, said: "The crisis in Syria is a tragic example of how thousands of people are being displaced every single day, putting immense tolls on individual families that are being uprooted and torn apart. The service has proven successful in Africa, and now we want to bring this to the Middle East to address the Syrian crisis. We hope more operators will join us in deploying the service, and we are grateful to Zain and Asiacell for their leadership."Mikkelsen concludes: "Each family reconnection is special - for Syria time is of the essence, giving hope in a hopeless moment for Syrians." During Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain, Ericsson is showing world-leading technology and service capabilities and innovations. We believe that anything that benefits from a connection will be connected, and we lead the way with solutions that drive the development in mobility, broadband and the cloud, creating the foundation for eco-systems and transformation across industries. We are your guide in the Networked Society. Insights from our experts and Networked Society and Technology for Good evangelists are also published on our blog during the event. You can find us at MWC in Hall 2, Stand 2S60. Follow us during the event using @Ericsson @Ericssonsustain and @Networked_Soc and join the discussion using #MWC14. NOTES TO EDITORS About Refugees United Refugees United connects displaced populations with long-lost families. Globally, more than 280,000 refugees in camps and urban areas have registered on the Refugees United platform with support from partners, such as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Kenya Red Cross Society. Around the world, more than 45 million people are living as refugees, internally displaced people or stateless persons. Countless families are separated, often never to find each other again due to a lack of an information infrastructure. Formed in 2008, Refugees United has created the world's biggest platform for separated refugee families. The organization has a strong presence in countries with large refugee populations, such as Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Uganda and Egypt.
Ericsson Corporate Communications Phone: +46 10 719 69 92 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgEricsson Investor Relations Phone: +46 10 719 00 00 E-mail: email@example.com Ref United, Ericsson Syrian families PDF http://hugin.info/1061/R/1764007/597977.pdf Photo Elaine Weidman http://hugin.info/1061/R/1764007/597978.JPG HUG#1764007