From the deck of our rescue boat – naming a baby

Jamal Agboola-Muideen

“My youngest baby is three months old. I’ve never seen him. But I gave him my name because maybe I won’t survive,” says Jamal Agboola-Muideen, 39.

“Going from Nigeria to Europe isn’t easy, through the land and through the sea. We lost a lot of people from the boat. I could have been among them.”

Jamal Agboola-Muideen is the breadwinner for his extended family and says he was forced to flee after his parents died when he received death threats from relatives wanting their land.


Aberfan disaster: how Red Cross volunteers helped a community in shock

British Red Cros teams unload supplies for Aberfan in 1966Even in the days before the internet, news spread fast when a small Welsh village was struck by tragedy in 1966. British Red Cross volunteers arrived in their hundreds to help the local community of Aberfan.

Fifty years after the disaster, read our report of the incident, written in the aftermath.

Disaster strikes

“On Friday October 21st, at about 9.15am, an 800-ft water-logged coal-tip slipped and descended 500 yards, down a mountain-side.

“In an avalanche of greasy slurry it engulfed a farmhouse, an infants and junior school and a terrace of houses in the small village of Aberfan, South Wales.

“The appalling death roll – to date 147, the majority being small children – shocked and stunned the entire world. More

Cholera Q&A – The deadly disease explained


Millions of people across the world contract cholera every year. Estimates suggest that more than 100,000 lives are lost every year to the disease.

The destruction and flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti has led to fears that there could be a deadly surge in cases.

In this blog, British Red Cross health adviser Greg Rose explains the threat posed by this potentially life-threatening disease.


From Calais to the UK – a view from the window


As the light again began to stream through the windows of the bus, one word above the rest was audible from the boys who sat quietly in nervous anticipation: “England?”

14 boys, mostly Afghans and Syrians, had arrived.

They are the first of the unaccompanied children living in Calais the Home Office has agreed to transfer to the UK.

The next week should see many more bus journeys like this one: many more packets of crisps and cheese sandwiches consumed; more vulnerable children glimpsing the British Isles for the first time.


From the deck of our rescue boat: a panic attack

man suffers panic attack on board the Responder

As the Responder search and rescue ship docks in Augusta, Sicily, a young man collapses, shaking.

Brunella Pirozzi, the doctor in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies team checks him. It’s a panic attack. The team leads him to a seat and stays with him until he calms down a little. Bit by bit, the 22-year-old unclenches his fists and begins counting on his fingers.

“My two brothers. My mother. Killed in front of my eyes. Then they came for my sister.”

He pulls the neck of his shirt down to show a red scar.

“They stabbed me when I tried to stop them from taking her. I played dead so they didn’t kill me too.”

After fleeing for his life, the young man pays traffickers in Libya for a place on a boat to Europe. Just outside Libyan coastal waters, his boat is intercepted by the joint Red Cross and MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) operation.


Grants, ducks and cyclones: seven lessons from Bangladesh

A man standing in a doorway holding a duck in each hand

What would you do if cyclones flooded the farmland you depend on every year?

Imagine living in an area that floods nearly every year.

For two to three months, you earn can no money and have to leave your home because it is surrounded by several feet of water.

Your house and farm animals can even get swept out to sea.

Despite working hard and saving between the cyclones, your family gets caught in this cycle year after year.

In 2013, the Red Cross, with our partner the Bangladesh Red Crescent, started supporting people in coastal villages in a new way.


New portrait marks six decades of support from Her Majesty

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II looks at a portrait of herself by Henry Ward

Photo credit: Press Association

Back in 2014, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II sat for artist Henry Ward as he crafted a painting that would mark six decades of patronage to the British Red Cross.

Two years on, the result is the spectacular eight-foot portrait of the Queen pictured above, which she herself unveiled today at Windsor Castle before a select audience.

This is the first time the Queen has been depicted in a portrait as the patron of the Red Cross. Join us to peek into the archives and take a look at 60 years of support from the Queen.


Homeless and hungry – life after Hurricane Matthew in Haiti


Elmita Nodeis sits on the ground in the school courtyard with a few buckets in front of her.

The school, in the southern Haitian town of Les Cayes, is being used as an evacuation centre in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. It has become home for Elmita and her family.

“My home has been destroyed and I haven’t eaten since yesterday, so I started washing people’s clothes for a bit of money,” said Elmita. More