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Tech's role in Europe's refugee crisis, in pictures

The daily lives of refugees and migrants in Europe show that technology has become a basic human right.

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James Martin
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1 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Like most people in an emergency, refugees made sure they had their smartphones.

While working on our Road Trip 2016 summer series "Life, Disrupted" -- about how technology is (or isn't) helping with the global refugee crisis -- CNET reporters often used Google Translate to interview refugees and migrants they met.

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2 of 34 James Martin/CNET

A teenager living in Athens' old airport video-chats with a friend.

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3 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Migrants and refugees rely on their phones for things like storing files, messaging, translating and shining flashlights.

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4 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Mobile phones have become lifelines to refugees.

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5 of 34 James Martin/CNET

A vendor sells SIM cards and phones to people living in a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos.

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6 of 34 James Martin/CNET

With help from Greek solar company Entec, students from Edinburgh University designed and built a solar charging station in a Lesvos refugee camp.

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7 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Water and a mobile phone: Two essentials for survival as a refugee.

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8 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Three men charge their phones in a camp near Thessaloniki, in northern Greece.

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9 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Rabee Abo Tarah, who lives in an abandoned hotel in Athens, shows a selfie he took on the notoriously perilous boat trip from Turkey to Greece. The former hotel now houses about 400 refugees.

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10 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Strung-together charging strips provide power inside a building at Athens' port Piraeus.

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11 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Social and messaging apps, like Facebook and WhatsApp, are essential tools.

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12 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Masood Qahar, of Afghanistan, shows his badge from NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

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13 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Migrants often carry multiple SIM cards to use across different cell networks.

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14 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Music can cross borders, and remind people of home.

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15 of 34 James Martin/CNET

What would you grab in an emergency? USB drives store refugees' important documents, as well as family photos and other mementos.

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16 of 34 James Martin/CNET

You'll hear many languages and dialects in refugee camps, making mobile translation apps an essential tool.

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17 of 34 James Martin/CNET

External battery packs can charge phones when outlets and charging stations aren't available.

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18 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Marches and protests, and opportunities for housing in Athens are often organized online and through social media.

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19 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Power strips linked together and fed by extension cords, outside a camp on Lesvos.

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20 of 34 James Martin/CNET

The Red Cross built a phone charging station for a refugee camp in Greece.

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21 of 34 James Martin/CNET

A tangle of power strips.

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22 of 34 James Martin/CNET

These men are waiting for their phones to charge.

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23 of 34 James Martin/CNET

In Athens' minimal tent encampments, refugees seek out for power for their devices.

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24 of 34 Shara Tibken

Solar lanterns provide the only light to a makeshift camp in Serbia.

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25 of 34 Shara Tibken/CNET

Migrants in a Serbian refugee camp huddle around power strips to charge their phones.

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26 of 34 Stephen Shankland/CNET

A refugee taps into one of dozens of power plugs available to residents of the Grande-Synthe refugee camp near Dunkirk, France. The network connection can be spotty, but free charging makes life easier.

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27 of 34 Stephen Shankland/CNET

A volunteer-run effort called the Refugee Info Bus provides free Wi-Fi to the Jungle refugee camp in Calais, France. The battered truck also shares information about refugee asylum rights and serves as a stage for musical performances.

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28 of 34 Stephen Shankland/CNET

There's no electricity in the refugee camp in Calais, France. A makeshift shop lets people charge their phones via a gas-powered generator.

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29 of 34 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Freiland youth-culture center in Potsdam, Germany, includes an internet cafe.

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30 of 34 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Kamil Shamal, a 16-year-old refugee from Afghanistan, holds his basic Samsung phone. He doesn't want his face photographed.

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31 of 34 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Firas Alshater is a YouTube star in Germany. He uses a Canon Vixia Mini to record videos that use humor to break down social barriers.

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32 of 34 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Google donated 22 Chromebooks to a refugee shelter in Berlin. Residents use them to learn German, look for jobs and communicate with family and friends back home.

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33 of 34 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Kids living in a Berlin shelter play Clash of Clans on an Android tablet.

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34 of 34 Stephen Shankland/CNET

A refugee shows a photo of him, his wife and their child as they sleep, homeless in Hungary. The family fled fundamentalist forces in Iraq.

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