Elsewhere online
September 24, 2015

Aid Groups Say Silicon Valley Is Sitting Out Refugee Crisis

Tech companies that have recently touted their efforts to help victims of natural disasters such as the Nepal earthquakes are declining to offer similar programs for hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking refuge in Europe, according to The Washington Post.

Firms such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft that made tech tools and services available after major storms and earthquakes have yet to do so for migrants or organizations supporting them, the Post writes. Airbnb runs a program to house disaster victims in properties on its site but has not activated it for migrants. A small German organization called Flüchtlinge Willkommen (Refugees Welcome) has attempted to pick up the slack, leading German media to dub it "Airbnb for refugees."

Silicon Valley's absence has drawn criticism from aid and human rights groups, who say the political dimension to the refugee crisis and the divisions it has fueled are dampening corporate interest. "It’s easier for the private sector to get involved after a natural disaster,' said Sebastien Chessex, who coordinates private partnerships for the International Committee of the Red Cross.