Diana Shaw

Diana writes on Asia, the Middle East and all things Red Cross.

Posts by Diana Shaw:

Sarah: a day in the life of a Syrian refugee in Lebanon

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Sarah sits in her tent with her daughter on her lap and her sons sitting on either side of her

© Andrew McConnell/British Red Cross

Sarah* is only 30 years old but her eyes tell of a hard life.

“I can’t think of anything that’s good that happens to me in my day,” Sarah says.

She has lived in Tripoli, Lebanon, in a makeshift tent for five years with her three children, two boys and a girl.

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Millions going hungry in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen: how you can help

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A woman in South Sudan holds a huge bag of Red Cross food on her head as two other people stand near her

Red Cross rations are helping to keep people alive in South Sudan – © Alyona Synenko/ICRC

You may have seen the news reports of famine in Africa and the Middle East recently.

Millions of people in four countries are facing relentless, crushing hunger.

Most have not had enough food for months or even years.

Parents are watching their children go hungry.

Here’s how you can help.

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Food, water, health care: five things you didn’t know about Yemen

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A man holds his young daughter as they stand outside their destroyed home in Yemen

This family is one of millions in need of help – © Thomas Glass/ICRC

After nearly two years of conflict, 18.8 million people in Yemen need humanitarian aid.

That’s more than in any other country, even Syria.

Over 14 million people don’t have enough food or water. Seven million of them are classed by the UN as ‘severely food insecure’.

This means that that they don’t know where their next meal is coming from and risk starvation.

A full-scale famine is possible in Yemen this year.

But how did things get so bad?

And what are the Red Cross and others doing about it?

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When hunger threatens lives – Q&A on malnutrition and famine

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A man, woman and two children sit in front of a makeshift tent in a barren landscape in Yemen. The family may be facing famine.

Conflict has devastated Yemen and left millions in need of food – © Mohammed Yaseen Ahmed Ibrahim/ICRC

The word ‘famine’ conjures up images of emaciated people clinging on to life. It is a deeply sensitive term and should never be used lightly.

The United Nations has appealed this week for funds to avert famine in Yemen, a country left decimated by conflict.

But Yemen is not the only country in the world facing famine: severe food shortages in South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia are also putting lives in danger.

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When the monkey shakes its tail in Mongolia

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An old postage stamp from Monglia showing a money scratching its head and a space probe

© ConradFries

The people of Mongolia will soon welcome in the year of the rooster. At the same time, the year of the monkey will draw to a close.

And it will leave behind one of the coldest winters so far this century.

In the Mongolian astrology system, every year – running from around February to January – is represented by one of 12 animals.

People born in the year of the monkey are thought to be clever and playful.

But there is an ancient saying in Mongolia: when the monkey shakes its tail, it will bring on a dzud.

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Returning home in Syria: two sheep to welcome you back

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A newborn lamb stands and rests its head on its mother's back in Homs, Syria

© IFRC

What does going home mean to you?

Maybe a warm welcome, familiar surroundings and a good meal with the people you love?

Ahmad and his family could not rely on any of those things when they returned to their devastated village near Homs, Syria.

But thanks to two pregnant sheep, this is about to change.

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Iraq’s forgotten children looking for home

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In Iraq, three girls sit on the ground in Khazer camp with Red Cross and Red Crescent food parcels

© IFRC/Safin Ahmed

These children should be at school. Instead, they spend their days behind a wire fence.

Since October, over 200,000 people have fled fighting in Mosul, Iraq.

As of February, over 152,000 people still can’t go home.

That’s almost as many people as live in Brighton in the UK.

It’s even more shocking that around half of those people are children.

The conflict destroyed their homes, devastating whole neighbourhoods.

Many families have taken refuge in Khazer camp, about 50 miles from Mosul.

Life here is busy and cramped. Since the battle for Mosul started, the camp’s population has swelled to more than 30,000 people.

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