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Red Cross chief executive reports from Haiti

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Nick Young, British Red Cross chief executive, visited Haiti in November. Here he reports back on the progress people are making as they recover from the devastating earthquake of 2010.

You notice the transformation in Port-au-Prince the moment you arrive at the airport. There’s a restored terminal building, a new car park, new smooth tarmac roads, working roundabouts, and no tents in the camp opposite the airport.

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Three years on: a multi-coloured path to the future in Haiti

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As the Red Cross helps regenerate a community devastated by the Haiti earthquake on 12 January 2010, it is taking an innovative approach, ensuring the people affected are in the driving seat.

View over Delmas 19 neighbourhood in Haiti

In the aftermath of the earthquake, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement launched its biggest disaster relief operation ever in a single country.

As the emergency phase shifted into longer-term recovery, the British Red Cross provided support for shelter, livelihoods, health, water and sanitation, helping more than 340,000 people.

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How people in Nepal live with the threat of disaster

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 George with colleagues from the Nepal Red Cross

Georgina Cooper, British Red Cross community engagement manager, recently visited our project in Nepal’s Kathmandu valley, where we’re helping people prepare for disasters. Here, she reports back:

My security briefing before going to Nepal – one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world – gave me plenty to think about on the plane: what to do in an earthquake, the dangers of traffic, and other hazards that may arise.

It was still fresh in my mind when I stepped off the plane and the Red Cross driver handed me a lanyard with emergency details and a whistle (in case I were to become stuck in rubble), which I dutifully slipped over my head.

Arriving at the hotel, I glanced around to see where I would ‘drop, cover and hold on’ should an earthquake strike, before going to sleep wondering how people live at this level of awareness.

It didn’t take long to dawn on me – they don’t. More

Radio and cinema help battle cholera in Sierra Leone

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Educating children in Sierra Leone about cholera

© Sharon Reader/BRC

Sharon Reader, British Red Cross beneficiary communications delegate, reports on new approaches to tackling cholera in Sierra Leone:

It’s easy to persuade people to wash their hands and drink clean water when the spectre of cholera is looming. It’s not so easy when there is no scary disease waiting to strike. Be honest, do you always wash your hands before you eat?

I’ve been in Sierra Leone now for four months working with the Sierra Leone Red Cross to respond to a cholera epidemic. My role is hygiene promotion and raising awareness of health issues. Simple steps like regular hand washing with soap, treating water and cooking food fully can be the difference between sickness and health, life and death. More

World AIDS Day: Boris tells a story of drugs, crime, HIV and redemption

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Boris having a cup of tea in his home

© Sarah Oughton/BRC

Ahead of World AIDS Day on 1 December, I’ve been thinking about what story I could tell. There are many to choose from as I’ve been privileged to witness the amazing work of Red Cross volunteers across Africa and Asia.

But I’d like to tell you about Boris, who I met a few months ago in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and who used to be an injecting drug user. I didn’t know this when I first met him – he was introduced to me as a volunteer, not a beneficiary, of the Kazakhstan Red Crescent’s TB and HIV programme.

However, over the course of a day, he told me his story which I began to realise represented a major problem in Kazakhstan where a growing dependence on drugs, and the sharing of needles, has resulted in an increasing number of HIV infections. More

The burden of climate change on poor countries

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Pastoralists outside their tents in Kenya

Across the planet, in every society, from the personal to the political, climate change poses a formidable challenge. It’s about restraint; producing and consuming less, sharing more.

This week the UN’s annual conference on climate change gets underway in Doha, Qatar. How we get a global collective commitment to meet necessary carbon reduction targets is a question I hope is keeping our world leaders up at night. But regardless of any political outcome, community action is more important now than ever: there may not be time to wait for a legal mandate before we start taking climate change seriously. More