X

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.

james-martin-bio
james-martin-bio

James Martin

See full bio
greece-refugee-tech-0605.jpg
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.

greece-refugee-tech-3231.jpg
2 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

greece-refugee-tech-4442.jpg
3 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

greece-refugee-tech-3004.jpg
4 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Mobile phones have become lifelines to refugees.

greece-refugee-tech-2979.jpg
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.

greece-refugee-tech-2-2.jpg
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.

greece-refugee-tech-0555.jpg
7 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

greece-refugee-tech-0552.jpg
8 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

greece-refugee-tech-5573.jpg
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.

greece-refugee-tech-4736.jpg
10 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

greece-refugee-tech-4702.jpg
11 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

greece-refugee-tech-5171.jpg
12 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

greece-refugee-tech-3158.jpg
13 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

greece-refugee-tech-4681.jpg
14 of 34 James Martin/CNET

Music can cross borders, and remind people of home.

greece-refugee-tech-3151.jpg
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.

greece-refugee-tech-4489.jpg
16 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

greece-refugee-tech-4448.jpg
17 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

d40a5001.jpg
18 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

greece-refugee-tech-2-4.jpg
19 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

greece-refugee-tech-2648.jpg
20 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

greece-refugee-tech-2.jpg
21 of 34 James Martin/CNET

A tangle of power strips.

greece-refugee-tech-2516.jpg
22 of 34 James Martin/CNET

These men are waiting for their phones to charge.

d40a4411.jpg
23 of 34 James Martin/CNET

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

road-trip-refugees-germany-hungary-315.jpg
24 of 34 Shara Tibken

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

road-trip-refugees-germany-hungary-236.jpg
25 of 34 Shara Tibken/CNET

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

20160616-france-refugee-shankland-086.jpg
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.

20160615-france-refugee-shankland-042.jpg
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.

20160615-france-refugee-shankland-040.jpg
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.

road-trip-refugees-germany-hungary-90.jpg
29 of 34 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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

20160615-france-refugee-shankland-010.jpg
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.

road-trip-refugees-germany-hungary-98.jpg
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.

road-trip-refugees-germany-hungary-118.jpg
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.

road-trip-refugees-germany-hungary-119.jpg
33 of 34 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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

20160616-france-refugee-shankland-077.jpg
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.

More Galleries

59 Weird Objects Seen on Mars, Explained

More Galleries

59 Weird Objects Seen on Mars, Explained

62 Photos
2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
Meyers Manx 2.0 EV Reimagines the Classic Dune Buggy

More Galleries

Meyers Manx 2.0 EV Reimagines the Classic Dune Buggy

13 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

82 Photos
The 42 Absolute Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The 42 Absolute Best Games on Nintendo Switch

43 Photos
2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 Prototype Hits the Road in South Korea

More Galleries

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 Prototype Hits the Road in South Korea

20 Photos
2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid Is as Good as We Hoped

More Galleries

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid Is as Good as We Hoped

56 Photos