Typhoon Mangkhut: the Red Cross is there to help

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A Red Cross volunteer walks pass a house destroyed by Typhoon Mangkhut

Typhoon Mangkhut caused terrible damage in the Philippines, © Philippine Red Cross

Typhoon Mangkhut, which slammed into the Philippines on Saturday, was the world’s strongest storm this year.

Its winds reached a staggering 165 miles per hour. That’s 75 miles per hour stronger than Hurricane Florence, which hit the US on the same day.

At 168 miles across, this massive storm covered an area roughly equal to the distance between London and Stoke-on-Trent.

The human impact has been equally huge.

Reports are still coming in but we already know that at least 64 people sadly lost their lives.

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After her partner’s death, Sarah helps others cope with bereavement

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Someone holds a photo of Sarah and her partner Graham with leaflets from Cruse Bereavement Care behind it on a table

Sarah and Graham

When Sarah Sweeney’s partner Graham died suddenly while they were on holiday, she was plunged into terrible grief. Now, she plans to use her experience to help others who feel alone after the death of a loved one.

“I lost my partner, Graham, five months ago while we were on holiday,” Sarah said.

“It was completely unexpected. ‘Devastation’ doesn’t even come close, there just aren’t the words to really explain or understand this.

“He was 52 years old and I am 53. We were so active, young at heart, sporty and adventurous. We lived life to the max. We thought we had the rest of lives ahead of us.”

Sarah suddenly had to learn to live without Graham.

From being an outgoing person who planned to spend the rest of her life with the man she loved, Sarah began to dread the weekends. This was the time they used to spend together.

“The death of my partner has changed me,” Sarah said. “Many of the things that I used to do without even thinking about it – cycling, going to the gym, going out for dinner or to the local coffee shop – I avoided.

“It is so easy to become completely isolated.”

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What would you miss most? Rebuilding after Hurricane Irma

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If a huge hurricane blew away your home, what would you miss the most?

For Lorie, it was his treasured viola. “There’s no way I can replace my instrument, my viola,” he said. “It was just precious.”

The keen musician’s home and viola were damaged by Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever seen in the Atlantic.

The huge storm damaged or destroyed almost every house in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Rebuilding is going slowly.

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Amanda saved her grandad after learning first aid

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Amanda stands with her arm on the shoulder of her grandada, who she helped with first aid when he was bleeding heavily

Amanda and her grandad © Mike Poloway/British Red Cross

It was a peaceful Sunday at home. But when there was a sudden emergency, Amanda knew how to help her grandad when he needed it most.

“I was in my house with my family, my boyfriend and my grandad. He’d come round for a visit and a cup of tea on a Sunday afternoon,” Amanda said.

“After a while, my grandad went up the stairs and a few moments later I heard him shouting my name.

“There hadn’t been a bang or anything, so I didn’t know at this stage he had fallen. But when I got to the bottom of the stairs he was propped up on the wall at the top.

“I could tell something was wrong. As I went up towards him he pulled up his trouser leg, and all this blood spurted all over the wall.

“He said he’d just lost his footing on the top step and fallen. He’d cut himself on the edge of the stair.”

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‘Knowing first aid helped me save a motorcyclist’s life’

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Helen Cowen used her first aid skills to save the life of a motorcyclist who crashed outside her home.

Not everyone could handle the sight of a bloodied motorcyclist with a badly severed leg. Helen Cowan could, and her first aid knowledge saved a man’s life.

“I had decided to sit in the garden one evening when I heard a loud crash,” Helen said.

“At first I thought something had fallen from our recently renovated house. But as I walked to the front of the house, I could see a small crowd gathered on the pavement outside.”

The scene outside her house was upsetting.

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Loss, courage and strength: Rahima from Myanmar tells her story

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Rahima, who fled her home in Myanmar, stands in a camp in Bangladesh

After fleeing her home in Myanmar and terrible suffering, Rahima still finds the strength to be positive about her new role in the community. © A J Ghani/British Red Cross

I met Rahima in Bangladesh when I visited with the British Red Cross. Like hundreds of thousands of others, she had fled her home in Myanmar. Deeply moved by her story, I promised to share it with the world.

“I am only 30 but I know I look older.” Rahima said.

“It is because I have been through so much.

“Though I am so sad, it is very important to tell our terrible story to the whole world.”

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Yemen’s healthcare in crisis: a doctor speaks out

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A boy walks among the rubble from a destroyed building in Yemen

© Yeyha Arhab/ICRC

“Here our job is human. I can’t leave it, I can’t stop.”

Dr Anisa, a doctor with British Red Cross partner the Yemen Red Crescent, speaks from a battered clinic in Sana’a, Yemen.

Once, she was a hospital specialist. The clinic was a thriving health centre for mothers and babies.

But now, Yemen is caught up in deadly conflict. Dr Anisa is now a GP working in one of the only clinics where people can get free healthcare. Patients travel for hours to see her every day.

Like many doctors in Yemen, she hasn’t been paid in two years.

But Dr Anisa keeps going: “The conflict has affected everyone, not just us. I can’t do anything else, this is my job.”

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Seven reasons why I feel hope for Zimbabwe

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A mother in Zimbabwe carrying her child on her back stands with a Red Cross flag in the background

© Victor Lacken/IFRC

Bumping along a dirt road for five hours, I caught my first glimpse of Zimbabwe’s rural villages rising up from the dust.

The capital, Harare, seemed modern and wealthy. The contrast with the poor country villages was extreme.

Yet the mood among the rural people was upbeat.

We arrived just after the harvest and people, poor as they still were, kept offering us freshly picked fruit and vegetables.

But the drought that stalked Zimbabwe for two years could come back at any time.

Crops would die and parents might skip meals to feed their children. Disease and malnutrition could even carry some youngsters away.

Despite all of this, I am optimistic about Zimbabwe’s future.

Here’s why:

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