Giving warmth this winter: Photos from Syria



Millions of people in Syria have been forced to flee their homes. As winter closes in, many are living without fuel or electricity in temporary shelters, without proper protection from the weather.

In the city of Hama, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent has been giving people essential supplies to help them survive the winter.

Families are picking up thermal blankets, mattresses and mats – which can be used to insulate the floor of wherever they are sheltering.

In October alone the Hama branch gave out 25,000 blankets, 5,000 mattresses, and 6,000 mats. Its staff and volunteers have also helped to repair housing, protecting families from the cold.

Get a glimpse of this work in our quick photo gallery. More

Ebola: ‘Nothing can prepare you for the look in a patient’s eyes’



There’s no such thing as a good day when you’re treating Ebola patients, writes Sarah Robinson, a Red Cross nurse working in our Ebola treatment centre in Kenema, Sierra Leone. 

Whenever I get home from the Ebola treatment centre (ETC), one of the team members will always ask how my day was. I’m never sure how to answer.

Working in an ETC doesn’t seem to be a job where you can say you had a great day or an awful day. I love my job immensely; the national staff I work with and the patients I care for are all inspiring. I’ve learnt so much from them and I know I will continue to do so.

The multitude of daily challenges we experience make the job interesting and varied. Despite this, when the reply, “I had a good day” enters my mind, the words always stick in my throat.


Astronaut thinks Red Cross is out of this world

SpacemanChris Hadfield – the famous singing astronaut – is donating all the profits from his latest book to the Red Cross.

He’s the moustachioed, Canadian spaceman who captivated the world last year.

Thanks to him, most of us now know how astronauts sleep or whether you can cry in space.

A mind-boggling 22 million people watched him sing and play David Bowie’s Space Oddity thousands of miles above the earth.

And now the retired commander has pulled off his latest stellar feat – donating all the profits from his latest book to us. More

All Together Now for a Christmas number one!

No, you didn’t misread that title. This year, the British Red Cross is aiming for the top of the charts.

Many members of Britain’s rock royalty have come together to record a Christmas song for the British Red Cross – and you can buy a copy now!

A host of music stars – going under the name The Peace Collective – have recorded The Farm’s 1990 hit song, All Together Now. All proceeds will go to the Red Cross and Shorncliffe Trust.

Fittingly, given the Red Cross’ leading role in commemorating the First World War centenary, the song was inspired by the famous Christmas Day Truce that occurred in the trenches in 1914. More

South Sudan crisis – staring into the abyss  



South Sudan continues to slip under the radar. The crisis in the world’s newest nation doesn’t generate the headlines that emanate from Syria, Iraq or the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, yet there are vast humanitarian needs in South Sudan.

It is one year since conflict erupted in the country. More than one million people have fled their homes. So why is the world so silent?


‘Oh, yes they did.’ How First World War nurses put on a pantomime

Xmas-pantoOur Red Cross nurses saw untold horrors and worked themselves to exhaustion during the First World War – but many still found time to put on a Christmas pantomime.

As most of us settle in for another warm, well-fed festive season, it seems almost incredible to think of how different life was for many Britons a hundred years ago.

That’s certainly the case for the Red Cross nurses – known as Voluntary Aid Detachments – who served in military hospitals across Europe during the Great War.

These young women (and sometimes they were very young) saw and dealt with scenes that are unimaginable to us now. More

Winter in Syria: “They had nothing to protect them from the snow”

The Lebanese Red Cross give blankets to refugees. ©Tommasso Della Longa/IFRC

The Lebanese Red Cross give blankets to refugees. ©Tommasso Della Longa/IFRC

Aid worker Hosam Faysal knows exactly how tough winters in Syria and its neighbours can be. Since the country’s crisis began, he has been working to get basic help such as blankets and clean water to people affected by the conflict. Millions have been forced to flee their homes.

He says: “The weather is harsh and cold during winter. In many locations the temperature can drop down to about zero degrees.

“I still remember the winter of the crisis in 2012, when the photos came in from one of the refugee camps. It was flooded, and the tents were covered by snow.

“One of the scenes that I still have in the back of my mind is of a family who had nothing to protect them from the snow, except a few blankets and some material they had hung from the trees around them.” More