Bringing up a baby in a car: how our asylum system is failing families

Red Cross volunteer speaks to Dilipa

Before the war life was good for Dilipa. She loves her country – the weather, the fresh produce, the lifestyle.

But after 2000, hostilities between the government and Tamil separatists increased. Life for ordinary Tamils in Sri Lanka became more and more difficult.

Members of Dilipa’s family were questioned and even tortured. They would get arrested for small things such as not having an ID card on them.

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Seven days that shook Syria

Syria-AleppoIt has been a traumatic week in Syria – more so than usual. Numerous attacks on hospitals in Aleppo have robbed people of vital health care and highlighted a flagrant disregard for humanitarian law.  Find out what happened and our response.

It began on 27 April with an attack on an Aleppo hospital and the death of a leading doctor that hit the headlines.

The Al Quds hospital in eastern Aleppo was completely destroyed. The hospital was supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

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Older couple ‘tickled pink’ by Facebook

Tom and Jean Fussell learning to use their tablet with Red Cross volunteer Jo

In this day and age you can stay connected to your nearest and dearest with the touch of button. You can Skype your cousin in Canada and WhatsApp a picture of Meera the cat to your sister. You can even share your holiday snaps with friends on Instagram.

But only if you know how.

Tom and Jean Fussell did not. The couple from Radstock, both in their eighties, felt cut off from their loved ones dotted across the globe.

They had bought a tablet in the hope they could stay in touch. But they hadn’t learnt how to use it.

“It’s all new to us. We were brought up in a different era,” Jean said.

“When we went to school we had chalk and slate and a pen you had to dip in ink.”

But with a little help from a British Red Cross volunteer, that was about to change.

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Yemen photography competition: a window for the world

Two children sit on dry ground looking into the camera and holding a jerry can

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Can you imagine what 14 million hungry people look like? That’s nearly twice the population of London, all feeling the pain and fear of hunger.

Maybe it’s easier just to picture two hungry children, like those in this photograph from Yemen, dirty and tired but full of life.

Right now, 14 million people in Yemen – over half the country’s population – don’t have enough food.

A photography competition may be the last thing you’d expect to find in the middle of this crisis, caused by a violent civil war.

But the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Yemen recently organised one.

Why? “The competition is a tool and window to show the world how the humanitarian situation is getting worse,” said Adnan Hizam from ICRC.

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Letters from a crisis: goodbye to new friends

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Having spent a month in a refugee camp in northern Greece, Gwen Wilson is now preparing to say goodbye.  

Some of her refugee volunteers have decided to apply for asylum in Greece. Others are still hoping the borders will open.

Writing to you for the final time, retired nurse Gwen gives her impressions on life on the front line of Europe’s refugee crisis.  

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Quiz: How helpful would you be on a stag or hen party?

Conditions on a hen or stag party are perfect for the bystander effect to kick in. Act to overcome it.

The wedding season may be upon us but before anyone says “I do”, there’s one last party to be had. It’s stag and hen party time.

Hopefully you’ll have a first-aid-free evening. And even if something does go wrong, you’re sure you’ll spring to the aid of anyone who needs it.

Right? Maybe not.

There’s a phenomenon called the bystander effect taking hold of party-goers across the UK.

Would you stand by or step in? Take the quiz to find out.

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In the nick of time: ‘I feared giving birth in the car’

Red Cross volunteers Nigel and Stuart with Claire and baby Tori

As thousands of runners’ feet pounded the roads in the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon on 10 April, an expectant mum was desperately trying to find a way through the resulting traffic.

Claire Burke had gone into labour.

She had been driving to her mum’s for breakfast with her eight-year-old daughter Mia when she’d started to feel the contractions.

“At first I thought they were Braxton Hicks (false labour),” Claire said.

But as she tried to navigate through the road closures and diversions, the contractions grew stronger and stronger. Before long they were coming every minute.

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