Art from the past: when a scene of horror went up in flames

Belsen burning

Every month, we dust off a piece of art from the British Red Cross collection to give it the attention it deserves. This painting takes on a terrible moment in history: the discovery of the Nazi concentration camp at Belsen.

When Doris Zinkeisen signed up as a war artist at the end of the Second World War, she probably knew some sights and scenes would test her extraordinary talents.

But she may not have known she’d face one of the war’s great horrors. More

Safe and sound: why we help refugees

Polish children at a refugee camp in Germany, Second World War.

Polish children at a refugee camp in Germany, Second World War.

It may be legal to claim asylum, but why’s the law there in the first place? We need to go back to two big moments in history – when millions were cast adrift, at the mercy of war.

Last year, the global refugee figure passed 50 million, for the first time since the Second World War. More than half are children.

That’s a huge amount of people – and pretty hard to get your head around. It means something like the entire population of South Korea is wandering the world, looking for safety.

But behind this ‘50 million’ figure are real people, with real stories, fleeing terrible trauma. Some are running from the war in Syria, which rumbles on. Others are fleeing the crisis in South Sudan. Whatever their background, they each have a legal right to claim protection from other countries in the world.

So why does the UK – and others – offer up this sanctuary? What lessons has history taught us? More

Why prevention really is better than cure

Homeless-BLOGThey sound worlds apart, but a homeless programme in the USA and our social care work here in England share one big idea – tackling problems early makes sense.

A few years ago, the state of Utah launched a novel strategy to combat its chronic homeless problem. It just gave everybody a home.

On the surface, this sounded like a crazy move. Most of the state’s 2,000 chronically homeless population had significant mental health issues and substance addictions.

Frankly, they didn’t seem like ideal candidates to be trusted with the keys to a house. (The traditional approach had always been to place the homeless into shelters until they were deemed ‘housing ready’.)

And yet, the idea worked like a dream. More

Let’s lay down the law on asylum ‘illegals’

Every week, there are headlines about illegal immigrants, sneaking under lorries and even hiding behind car seats – all so they can claim asylum in ‘soft-touch Britain’. Why don’t we send them back to their countries? Are they taking us for a ride?

To answer that, we really need to understand the law and process around asylum – and so does much of the media.

It’s time to get the story straight.

MythBuster illegals

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From terror to treatment: Three TB stories

A man standing outside

Andrey Yushko

When someone in Turkmenistan learns they have tuberculosis (TB), the questions they need answered come thick and fast. What is this illness? Will it kill me? Can I get treated for it? How will it affect my family? Will I lose my job, or even my home?

TB can kill. But the disease is curable, although treatment in Turkmenistan is a long and difficult process. And poverty and stigma can make recovery even more difficult.

That’s why, for more than a decade, the British Red Cross has worked with our partner – the Turkmenistan Red Crescent – to support thousands of people through months of treatment and recovery. More

Ten reasons to step away from the screen and get outside

© friedmanwd and istockphoto

© friedmanwd and istockphoto

Here’s the perfect way to knock back some fresh air and say hello to spring – and it’s all for a good cause.

From now until September, you can visit hundreds of gardens to raise life-saving cash – including some never seen before.

Not only will you get your daily dose of green space, but many are a whole day out in themselves: with mazes, woodland walks, treasure hunts and cream teas.

Prepare for a few surprises. Here are just a few things you can see and do:

1. Hang out with an alpaca

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Ebola virus disease explained: Q&A

©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

An outbreak of Ebola has left thousands dead in West Africa. The Red Cross, along with other humanitarian agencies, is working to stop the spread of the deadly and highly contagious disease.

1. What is the Ebola virus?

Ebola virus disease is a severe and often fatal illness – outbreaks have a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Outbreaks occur predominately in remote villages in Central and West Africa near tropical rainforests.

The first incidence of Ebola was in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks: in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo close to the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

The origin of the virus is unknown. The current Ebola outbreak is the largest ever documented, both in terms of the number of cases and the size of the affected area.

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