Matthew Carter

Writer working with the British Red Cross on issues to do with refugees, asylum and international family tracing.

Posts by Matthew Carter:

No money for milk: the new mums neglected by UK asylum system

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woman holding toddler

© Chris Leslie

They say everything changes overnight.

All of a sudden there’s a new person in the world. Your person. A little boy or girl that makes your every other care melt away.

It’s supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life, and for most new mothers the experience is exactly that.

But what of those women in the UK’s asylum system? How does motherhood treat them?

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Red Cross figures reveal new mums and pregnant women left destitute by admin delays

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woman looks forlornly out window

© Chris Leslie

Pregnant women and new mothers were among thousands of destitute refugees and asylum seekers supported by the British Red Cross this year.

Between January and March, the Red Cross helped more than 5,400 people without adequate access to food, housing or health care.

Among them were 70 women who received nappies from the Red Cross, and nearly 100 women who were given baby packs.

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“There is a big need for nutritious food here” – overcoming drought in Zimbabwe

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people in garden

The midday sun is fierce as we arrive in Chibuwe, but this hasn’t deterred the Red Cross volunteers who have been hard at work ploughing the land for hours.

It doesn’t look much at the moment, but in a few months it is hoped the earth will provide a rich bounty of tomatoes, spinach, onion, carrots, and aubergines.

“This is our wonderful nutrition garden which will benefit the whole community,” explained Zimbabwe Red Cross volunteer Lucky Mazangesure.

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“They took her mother” – Coming to the aid of South Sudan’s refugees

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boy looks on in refugee camp

© Emily Gilbert/British Red Cross

The ever-growing Imvepi refugee camp in Uganda is home to nearly 60,000 people. Aid worker Emily Gilbert has just returned from the camp and explains how Red Cross volunteers are playing a vital role in keeping people safe and healthy.

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“I loved my wife, she was my life” – The drought threatening lives in Somalia

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Drought and conflict have led to a critical humanitarian crisis in Somalia. Over 6.2 million people are in need of urgent help – more than half the country’s population. The Times photographer Jack Hill visited Sool, in Somaliland, one of the worst affected areas. His images capture the crisis and the Red Cross Red Crescent response.

A dust tornado rips through the arid, desolate landscape.

Photo credit: Jack Hill / The Times

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‘The people we treat have nothing’ – caring for the victims of a forgotten conflict

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hospital-fighting-children-conflict-south-sudan-kodok_02

In the far-flung corners of South Sudan, health care is all but impossible to find. People often walk for days to get the care they need to survive. Hope comes in the shape of the Red Cross’ surgical unit in a hospital in the remote town of Kodok. Oxford nurse Robbie Gray is part of the team and is no stranger to South Sudan, but that doesn’t make medical care in the world’s newest nation any easier.

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Praying for rain: one day in drought-hit Somalia

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Garabis, Balilgubadle village, 35 km from Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland. Severe drought in Somalia has caused the death of many animals and badly affected the lives of shepherds. Throughout the area, most wells have dried up, which has resulted in the death of more than half of the cattle. Families have lost their income, along with their main source of food and milk.

Reporting from drought-hit Somaliland, Hannah Wilkinson, the British Red Cross’ senior media manager, discovers a proud people struggling to survive.

Soon after stepping off the plane in the city of Hargeisa, I learnt that my visit coincided with the President declaring a national day of prayer. People here have actually been asked to pray for rain.

Driving towards Sool, one of the worst drought affected areas in eastern Somaliland, you can see why. More