Google’s Search­ing for Syr­ia’: Spread­ing Aware­ness About the Refugee Crisis


Google has launched ‘Searching for Syria‘, a project in collaboration with UNHCR — the UN Refugee Agency — and the website aims to answer five crucial questions that are being asked around the world regarding one of the longest ongoing wars of the 21st century.

Searching for Syria

Syria, which was home to 22 million people, is now a war-stricken territory accounting for 5 million refugees — the largest number of displaced people due to a conflict since the second World War.

The civil strife in the country began in 2011 and since then the top trending searches on Google changed from ‘Arab Idol and Bodybuilding’ to ‘What is happening in Syria? and What is a refugee?’ in 2016.

“It was six years ago in March that the Syrian civil war began, and since then more than five million people have been forced to leave their homes to seek shelter. The scale of the crisis is hard for most of us to fathom, and the experience of the refugee population can often feel too remote for most of us to understand,” Google stated in their blog post.

Searching for Syria

The website aims to give readers a detailed insight into the history and present situation of Syria and to expose and help in better understanding the issue.

Towards that end, the website essentially answers five of the main questions that have been searched on Google tens of millions of time in 2016.

  • What was Syria like before the war?
  • What is going on in Syria?
  • What is a refugee?
  • Where are Syrian refugees going?
  • How can I help Syrian refugees?

The website showcases the answers to all these questions in an interactive manner, accompanied by after/before the war images of places in Syria.

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Searching for Syria

“Searching for Syria aims to dispel myths and misconceptions about Syria and refugees and provide and entirely fresh look at the biggest humanitarian tragedy of today,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

It gives out a detailed description of how life in Syria was before a peaceful protest in 2011 turned into conflict claiming many lives and forcing people out of homes.

Searching for Syria

The website then goes on to challenge the stereotypes surrounding refugees, informing readers about how refugees — like Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud, among many others — have contributed towards the growth of the country that grants them asylum.

Searching for Syria ends with the information of where have the majority of Syrians been displaced to and how they’re still overcoming the odds as well as information about how you can spread the message or donate to support the cause.

The website is a must-visit for anyone who is unaware of the biggest humanitarian crisis plaguing millions of people around the world or whosoever is looking to contribute towards helping out the refugees.

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Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.