Diana Shaw

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

Posts by Diana Shaw:

Children hit worst in Yemen’s cholera epidemic

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Ragdad, a young girl with cholera in Yemen, likes on a bed with her eyes half closed and an IV line draped across her body

Ragdad, a young cholera patient in Yemen © ICRC

“She is unable to eat. She vomits everything and diarrhoea is constant,” said Ahmad.

He is worried about his two-year-old daughter Ragdad.

Like over 124,000 others in Yemen, Ragdad has cholera. More than 900 people have already died from the disease.

Over 5,100 suspected cases have been reported in the past few days alone. And at least half of them are severe.

Cholera in Yemen has become an unprecedented public health crisis.

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Help at the hardest time: supporting families after the Manchester bombing

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Woman holds a sign reading I love Manchester

Photo credit: Xinhua/Han Yan: Alamy

“Last Monday night, my mum texted me knowing that I was on shift,” said Amy Weston, a Red Cross emergency response volunteer.

“Something’s happened at the MEN [Manchester Arena].’

“I ended up ringing the person who was managing our volunteer shift that night. She said ‘you just need to stop, to chill out, get some rest and get ready just in case.”

The Red Cross works alongside the emergency services, councils and other voluntary sector partners in emergencies. The next day, the local authority asked the Red Cross to support the response efforts.

“On the way to work the next day, I got a call saying we’re going to need some support today, we’re opening up at the Etihad,” Amy said.

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Shot in the leg at seven months old, the nightmare reality of Syria’s conflict

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In Syria, a seven-month-old baby lies on an examining table while an adult hand lifts up his leg to show scars from a bullet wound

Fatma’s seven-month-old grandson was shot in the leg © SARC/Tareq Mnadili

The last thing Fatma expected was for her seven-month-old grandson to be shot in the leg while lying in his bed.

And yet, such is the indiscriminate brutality of Syria’s conflict, Fatma watched this improbable nightmare unfold before her eyes.

“My daughter-in-law had laid the baby on the bed at home and the bullet just came through the window,” Fatma said.

“When we saw what had happened to him we were so angry, we cried.

“We just fled the situation, it was very bad, there was shooting and bombing.”

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‘You can’t leave your house’ – health care in danger in Yemen

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Close-up of Mukhtar Ismail, a 20-year-old man in Yemen, lying on blankets on a bed

Mukhtar Ismail © ICRC

Yemen is facing a serious cholera outbreak with 532 recorded deaths and more than 65,300 suspected cases in a matter of weeks. As these stories show, Yemen’s crumbling health care system was struggling to cope even before the recent cholera outbreak. 

“I have nothing,” said Mukhtar Ismail.

“I cannot cover the costs of the medicine. Before being injured, I used to work, walk and do everything. Now I cannot move or even stand up. I cannot breathe.”

Mukhtar is one of thousands of people injured during Yemen’s two-year conflict.

Like many, the 20-year-old needs urgent medical treatment.

But fighting and severe shortages of medical supplies mean that fewer than half of Yemen’s hospitals are fully functioning. More

“He was always looking after us” – Lee’s journey from Tunisia attacks to London Marathon

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Lee Stocker, wearing a British Red Cross vest top to train for the London Marathon, sits next to his wife Nicole

Lee Stocker and his wife Nicole © Evening Standard

“Without him, I don’t know how we would have coped.”

Lee Stocker is talking about Dr Howie Fine, a British Red Cross psychological and emotional support volunteer.

Lee’s parents Janet and John Stocker were among the 38 people killed during the beach attack in Sousse, Tunisia, two years ago.

To remember his parents and those who died, and to say thank you for Red Cross support, 38-year-old Lee is running the London Marathon.

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Baking bread and colouring hair – Syrian women take charge

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In Syria, Amani and Rouda stand next to each other next to a shelf of beauty products and a mirror

Amani and Rouda in their salon in Damascus, Syria ©IFRC

Syria remains the world’s largest and most complicated humanitarian crisis. As governments and international organisations gather to discuss the coming year’s aid to Syria, the Red Cross is helping people to return to a more normal life.

You wouldn’t usually find a fully-fitted beauty salon inside a small rented apartment in a suburb of Damascus, Syria’s capital.

But Amani and her friend Rouda set up just such a salon six months ago after attending a hairdressing course run by our partner, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

For Amani, becoming a hairdresser was a chance to pursue a dream and to support her family after losing her husband and home.

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Escaping Mosul: the youngest and oldest speak out

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A child looks over his mother's shoulder in Mosul, Iraq, as people arrive at a camp

©Tommy Trenchar/ Panos Pictures

“Planes were shelling, bombs were exploding: we fled from death.”

Stark words from a stark place: western Mosul in Iraq, where fighting has forced thousands of families out of their homes.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent are providing essential food, water and medical care to tens of thousands of people in camps and host communities.

This includes 30,000 hot meals and 40,000 pieces of fresh bread in one day.

But who are these people? What have they suffered? What do they want next?

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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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