Diana Shaw

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

Posts by Diana Shaw:

“Unbearable conditions” facing families fleeing Myanmar violence

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A woman from Myanmar holds a baby and looks back as people around her walk uphill on a muddy path

© AJ Ghani/Bangladesh Red Crescent

In the pouring monsoon rain, a family trudges through the mud on a journey that could be the difference between life and death.

This is the border between Myanmar, also known as Burma, and Bangladesh.

In recent weeks, thousands of people have fled their homes in Myanmar with almost no possessions and entered a country in the grip of terrible floods.

Many more remain stranded in border areas without food, water or shelter.

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“I couldn’t save anything but the children’s lives” – South Asia floods

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Mother and child stand in the rain as the South Asia floods hit India

Mother and child in India © Hanna Butler/IFRC

The worst monsoon floods in decades have claimed thousands of lives and continue to devastate communities across South Asia.

More than 41 million people across Nepal, India and Bangladesh have been affected. An area roughly the size of the UK is under water.

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Bangladesh under water: monsoon floods hit South Asia

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Shilpi collects water as she and her cows shelter on a tiny island surrounded by water in what was once a field

© Aminul Sawon

Shilpi’s cows are her life. Like many in Bangladesh, she makes a living from the land.

Each year, Shilpi and others in her village welcome the monsoon rains. They bring the fresh water they need to live on for the next year.

But in recent weeks, the monsoon rains have relentlessly pounded this part of Bangladesh.

Rainwater from the Himalayas is travelling down through Nepal’s lower lying areas, through swollen rivers in north-east India and eventually through the floodplains of Bangladesh.

Vast swaths of land across all three countries are under water.

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Little food, no water and stifling heat: families trapped in the Syrian desert

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A two-year-old girl takes a bath in a plastic basin of dirty water outside Raqqa, Syria

© ICRC/ Ingy Sedky

While hundreds of thousands of people have managed to escape the fighting in Raqqa since April, the fate of tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the Syrian city remains unknown. Ingy Sedky, from the International Committee of the Red Cross, reports from the camps outside the forlorn city.

“Take a picture,” the man said to me as he took my hand. “Show the world how we are living.”

He brought me to see his young daughter, who was having a bath in a basin full of contaminated, muddy water.

This family once had a house with running water and clean clothes. They went to work and school, and ate good meals together.

Now, this is all they have, this is how they live.

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Back to the land: how gardening saves lives in Syria

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A wooden box with a handle is filled with vegetables harvested from an allotment in the UK

An allotment harvest in the UK © iStock

If you’ve ever obsessed over plant watering techniques, cursed an army of slugs or wondered what to do with a wheelbarrow of artichokes, chances are you’re an allotment holder.

Allotments are a UK institution. Waiting lists stretch from years into decades in some places as we hanker after the magic of growing our own food.

Over the next few months allotment owners will reap the rewards of their hours of toil as runner beans, potatoes and squash are ready to harvest. More

Sheep, medicine and food – how cash grants change lives in Pakistan

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In Pakistan, Naqeebullah holds a sheep while his young sons lean on his shoulders and one of the boys holds another sheep

Naqeebullah, his sheep and two of his sons © Pakistan Red Crescent

The Red Cross may be famous for our food parcels and more traditional forms of aid, but cash grants have long been an integral part of our work. Put simply, cash changes lives.

We’re working with the Pakistan Red Crescent to give cash to people in rural areas of Balochistan Province.

From buying sheep to feeding hungry children, cash gives people the independence to buy whatever they need and helps to stimulate the local economy.

Here are four ways people have used their cash grants. More

Cholera in Yemen: the numbers behind the world’s worst outbreak

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The statistics in this blog now cover the period to 21 August 2017

A baby with cholera in Yemen lies on a bed with an IV drip in its hand

© ICRC

Cholera is killing people in Yemen.

Shocking statistics from the ground tell the terrible story of the world’s worst cholera outbreak.

Over 542,000 people have already been infected and more than 2,000 have died.

The following graphs and facts illustrate the rise of this unprecedented outbreak over recent months. More