On Tuesday April 10, 2007, Internet giant Google, partnering with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, launched its project “Crisis in Darfur” using its Google Earth satellite mapping service as a way to focus world attention on the ongoing atrocities taking place in Sudan’s Darfur region. In the “Crisis in Darfur” project, Google Earth’s technology offers its 200 million registered users high-resolution satellite views of destroyed villages in Darfur and refugee tent cities in neighboring eastern Chad. By clicking on icons at specific atrocity sites on the map, Google Earth users are taken to the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s “Crisis in Darfur” site where specific information, photographs, and eyewitness testimony are provided.
In 2004, the U.S. Holocaust Museum declared a genocide emergency for 2.5 million people, targeted because of ethnic or racial identity in Sudan’s Darfur region. By United Nations estimate, 200,000 people have already been killed by Sudanese government backed militias. “Crisis in Darfur” is the museum’s first Google Earth project of its Genocide Prevention Mapping initiative, allowing millions of Google Earth users worldwide a chance to be alerted of burgeoning atrocities in remote corners of the world.
The initiative came about when museum staff members contacted Google with their proposal. U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum director Sara Bloomfield states, “We hope this important initiative with Google will make it that much harder for the world to ignore those who need us most.”
Sudan’s President Bashir denies that atrocities have taken place in Darfur. The United Nations’ Hague based International Criminal Court claims otherwise. The United Nations calls Darfur “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.”
The conflict began in 2003 after black Sudanese rebels attacked government property as a demonstration, protesting Sudan’s government favoring the country’s Arab population.
Icons on the “Crisis in Darfur” map link users to relief organizations’ web sites as well as government web sites.
The Holocaust Museum is also working with Google on a Google Earth project mapping key World War II Holocaust sites.