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An insight into the violence and chaos in Darfur has been provided through a new project in which the public can use online satellite imagery to view destroyed villages and obtain information about refugee camps and other humanitarian efforts.
The project is a joint effort undertaken by the internet search giant Google and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum located in Washington DC. It utilises the Google Earth service which allows users to view high resolution satellite images by moving their computer mouse.
For the new project, the company has updated its service with even higher resolution images and has integrated the pictures with icons that represent destroyed communities and displaced people across the Darfur region of southern Sudan.
By clicking on an icon, users can access more information, eyewitness testimony and photographs about what has happened in specific locations.
"We decided the situation in Darfur was a genocide crisis back in the summer of 2004 based on a wealth of evidence," said John Heffernan, a spokesman for the Holocaust Memorial Museum. "We are trying to honour the memory of the Holocaust by responding to what is happening today. We felt we needed better visual representation and that was when we teamed up with Google Earth."
The Museum and Google Earth unveil an unprecedented online mapping initiative. Watch the launch of the project here. Crisis in Darfur enables more than 200 million Google Earth users worldwide to visualize and better understand the genocide currently unfolding in Darfur, and to respond to the crisis.
Crisis in Darfur content comes from a range of sources—the U.S. State Department, non-governmental organizations, the United Nations, individual photographers, and the Museum. The high-resolution imagery in Google Earth enables users to zoom into the region to view more than 1,600 damaged and destroyed villages, providing visual, compelling evidence of the scope of destruction. The remnants of more than 100,000 homes, schools, mosques and other structures destroyed by the janjaweed militia and Sudanese forces are clearly visible. Humanitarian organizations and others now have a readily accessible tool for better understanding the situation on the ground in Darfur.