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Red Cross launches digital platform for migrants and refugees.

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has launched a free, digital humanitarian platform for people affected by migration, natural disasters, armed conflict, and other situations of violence.

RedSafe mobile application contains a digital vault for the storage of personal documents and information on humanitarian assistance available for migrants and refugees, according to ICRC.

The intervention from ICRC came at a time Southern Africa is experiencing a lot of migration in countries like Mozambique and Zimbabwe due to political and social conflict as well as natural disasters triggered by climate change.

ICRC Restoring Family Links Officer-Digital Humanitarian Platform Tendai Pamela Mhlanga said the application was formed to provide critical information and a space to safe keep personal documents by people displaced by political and social conflicts.

“The RedSafe app was designed to complement the existing Restoring Family Links programme. It currently has two services on offer, the information as an aid where people can access trustworthy and reliable information and the digital vault where users can upload and safely store digital copies of their important documents,” Mhlanga said.

She added: “It also gives details on self-protection measures. RedSafe is a one-stop platform for information on legal, health, education, livelihoods, and transport services offered by the ICRC, national Red Cross societies, and other humanitarian partners.”

Mhlanga said the ICRC would be adding more services to the app, that include a “geolocation of services in an interactive map and notification between users.” Mhlanga added that they intended to continue developing the RedSafe app to offer various services that would make it a key tool for ICRC national societies and other humanitarian agencies to work through digital services.

The ICRC has set up kiosks for users to access RedSafe in Bulawayo, Beitbridge, Harare Road port and Zaka where the team is mobile. ICRC`s Zimbabwean society, Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) also, in addition to the RedSafe kiosks, was stepping up implementation of its programmes to areas such as Tongogara Refugee Camp and Plumtree, according to Mhlanga.

“In Zimbabwe, kiosks have been set up along the migratory route to provide RFL services plus access to the RedSafe app. Visit us at the kiosks and receive free services including thirty minutes of Wi-Fi connectivity, three-minute calls, collection of Red Cross messages Tracing of loved ones, Phone call services, Trace the Face, RedSafe Mobile App and Phone charging.”

RedSafe is also available on online application sites, Google Play, Apple Store and the ICRC`s website.

Mhlanga said: “Once downloaded, users create a secure account before uploading and safely storing digital copies of documents. All data and personal information are encrypted and nothing is shared with other organisations. Users receive a 6-digit code by SMS or email to be able to access their sensitive data.”

She revealed plans to expand the platform’s service offering in later versions, with one being an ability to send “secure, pre-formatted, one-way notifications to other users on the platform with their location and contact details as well as an addition of the geolocation of services in a map.”

The application is being piloted by Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and South African Red Cross Society, with technical and financial support from ICRC.

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