Young Muslims reach dizzy new heights for charity

Three Peaks Challenge finish

How does it feel to scale three mountains in a row? Dr Aziz Hafiz knows the answer. This year, he had to get a group of young Muslims fit and ready for their biggest-ever fitness challenge…

Aziz is vice-president of AMYA, Britain’s largest and oldest Muslim youth association – and proud chair of its hiking club.

The group always takes on an annual challenge for charity. But so many people wanted to do the Three Peaks Challenge this year – hiking Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – that he had to turn some away.

“Everyone was so excited,” Aziz tells me. “But it didn’t go exactly to plan.”

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Ebola: the data behind the disease

Ebola-nurse-blog-IIIThe Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 2,400 lives across West Africa since it began in March.

One particularly striking fact is that nearly half (47 per cent) of the 4,963 cases across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, have come in the three weeks before 13 September, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It’s a clear sign that the outbreak is getting worse. Aid agencies, including the Red Cross, are stretched to the limit and desperately need more support.

In this blog, we take a look at the data behind the disease to see how Ebola has hit countries in West Africa.*

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Despair and hope in conflict-hit Iraq

In Iraq, people forced from their homes by ongoing violence find shelter where they can – from motorway underpasses to half-built warehouses. But the Red Cross and Red Crescent are bringing vital help.

people shelter under a concrete bridge

People shelter under a bridge in Dohuk. ©ICRC/Saleh Dabbakeh

Women and children shelter behind a brick wall

Women and children at an unfinished warehouse in Khanik. © ICRC/Saleh Dabbakeh

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Ebola outbreak: ‘If we don’t help, who will?’

Ebola-nurse-blogIf I am honest, I have stopped looking at the tallies of the dead. Numbers don’t show you what Ebola is really doing to these communities.

But I see the fear and misinformation it spreads. The orphans it leaves in its wake. The 120 health workers who have died while trying to help patients, in countries that already have some of the lowest doctor-patient ratios in the world.

When I first arrived in Sierra Leone six weeks ago, I travelled with the local Red Cross to the infection ‘hot zone’ near the Guinea and Liberia borders.

The volunteers were tired but motivated. Someone asked them: “Why volunteer to manage dead bodies?” A volunteer quickly answered: “If we don’t do it, who will?”

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Iraq: Exhaustion on the road to safety

People are given goods including bread and nappies

©Stacy Ragan / American Red Cross / IFRC

The Iraqi village of Faysh Khabur has become a destination for thousands of terrified people fleeing the country’s lethal violence. Here people cross into the safer region of Kurdistan, so the village often marks the end of one stage in a desperate journey.

But Kurdistan’s new arrivals still face huge problems and an uncertain future. More

From death threats in Sudan to a new life as refugees

Mohammed and his family - with Melanie Thomas, from the British Red Cross.

Mohammed and his family – with Melanie Thomas, from the British Red Cross.

Mohammed was a lawyer who loved his job. But when he started to receive death threats, he was forced to flee his home country of Sudan. He had to leave his wife and young sons behind.

Thanks to the British Red Cross, they are now back together again – and rebuilding their lives as a family. More