Sam Smith

Sam Smith

Sam brings you the latest stories, interviews and updates about British Red Cross work in Syria, Africa and the Americas.

Posts by Sam Smith:

‘The big fear is cholera’ – South Sudan’s refugees stalked by threat of famine and disease

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South Sudan refugees

600,000 people have fled South Sudan to Uganda due to violence – ©IFRC/TommyTrenchard

Think of famine in East Africa and you’ll likely picture desperate people queuing in arid and dusty lands.

Yet behind the drought that has taken hold in the region is an often forgotten and equally pernicious driver of hunger: conflict.

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Syria’s children and the mental scars of conflict: ‘I only do sad drawings now’

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syria-children-art

The physical trauma of the Syrian conflict will forever be etched in our minds: images of entire towns razed to the ground; people with life-changing scars; the millions forced to flee across borders in search of sanctuary. Yet the psychological trauma of war – particularly for the millions of children caught up in the conflict – is harder to see.

Recognising this, the British Red Cross has been working with our partners, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, to make sure children and adults receive emotional and psychological support.

Hiba runs a Red Crescent community centre in Dweila, in rural Damascus. It hosts a psychosocial programme that simply offers children a chance to do normal childhood things and to express themselves through art.

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International Women’s Day: “Seeking asylum is not a choice… it’s a necessity”

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©BritishRedCross/SimonRawles

©BritishRedCross/SimonRawles

People who come to the UK seeking sanctuary from war, oppression and persecution often arrive with visions of peace and safety.

Sadly, many find themselves facing a punishing, hand-to-mouth existence as they try to navigate a demanding asylum system.

For women, that process can be even tougher. More

A dark day in the history of the Red Cross

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©ICRC/AbdulazizAl-Droubi

©ICRC/AbdulazizAl-Droubi

We cannot accept attacks on aid workers, says British Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson. 

I received a message around lunchtime yesterday informing me that six of our colleagues from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had been killed in Afghanistan in an apparent deliberate attack by unknown armed men. Two colleagues are still unaccounted for.

A matter of hours later I was told that one of our aid distribution centres, near Aleppo, Syria, had also been attacked. One staff member from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) was killed. Two other people, who had come to the centre to receive aid, were also killed.

These developments highlight a profoundly worrying escalation in loss of life of humanitarian workers. They risk marking the moment that the death of people who should be protected under the international rules of war became the norm. We cannot accept that.

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The nomadic tribe facing up to climate change in Namibia

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©NikkiBidgood/GettyImages

©NikkiBidgood/GettyImages

Climate change and El Niño have led to widespread drought across southern Africa. Remote tribal communities in Namibia are having to adapt their way of life to survive, as Luke Tredget reports.

When we landed in the Namibian capital city, Windhoek, it was hard to imagine we were in a country where the government had recently declared a state of emergency.

We encountered busy supermarkets, chain cafes, and all the vestiges of an advanced economy that you’d expect from a country that spent decades as a province of neighbouring South Africa.

But, as with so many places in Africa, it is a different story when you leave the capital. More

10 photos from a forgotten crisis in Africa

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©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

Two-year-old Amahani, who has been sick for one month, rests in her hut – ©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

The crisis in Africa’s Lake Chad region continues to get worse and continues to be ignored.

These striking images give an insight into this vast emergency.

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Q&A – The Lake Chad crisis explained

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lake-chad-qa-1

Conflict, acute food shortages, disease and widespread displacement have conspired to leave millions of people in need of help in Africa’s Lake Chad region.

This dire humanitarian crisis has not happened overnight. Conflict has plagued the region for several years. People in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger are all suffering the consequences.

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A mapping revolution that is saving lives

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How can you improve women’s health in Guinea? Or help people in Haiti who have lost everything after Hurricane Matthew?

You could give to an emergency appeal to fund our life-saving work. But if you’re after something with a bit more direct involvement, then taking part in a mapathon could be the answer.

Missing Maps is a volunteer-led project that sees people from across the world create maps that could help people survive and recover from crisis. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection. More