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:

Seeds of change – making the most of El Niño in Kenya

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kenya-kitui-2Few kind words have been written about El Niño – that dreaded bearer of floods and droughts. Yet a bit of planning and investment has seen communities in Kenya benefit from the weather phenomenon, as Sarah Barr from our international team explains.

The semi-arid landscape of Kitui County hides no secrets. Droughts in the dry season, floods during the rainy season, it’s little wonder that farmers face such difficulty growing crops in a climate that fluctuates so wildly.

Most people here do some form of agriculture, whether it’s simply growing enough food to feed their families, or to sell at market for a modest income.

Changes in weather patterns can lead to food shortages, impacting people’s livelihoods and health, so we were following El Niño very closely.

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In pictures – the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

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hurricane-matthew-9The huge scale of damage inflicted by Hurricane Matthew is becoming clear. Of the countries hit by the category-four storm, Haiti is the worst affected.

The country’s south-west peninsula bore the brunt of last week’s hurricane with some areas still only accessible by air and sea.

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AIDS today: therapy brings hope

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World-AIDS-day-6

When you look at the facts surrounding the global AIDS epidemic, there seem to be many reasons for hope.

More people have access to antiretroviral therapy, which slows the reproduction of the virus and enables those with HIV to lead normal lives.

  • In 2015, 17 million people living with HIV were undergoing antiretroviral therapy, up from 15 million in 2014.
  • 49 per cent of children living with HIV had access to treatment in 2015, up from 21 per cent in 2010.

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The ‘treasure’ carpets helping Syrians rebuild their lives

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Syrian-carpets-blog“Syrian carpets are like treasure for us, their designs are so elaborate.”

Head down and pencil in hand, Manal is putting the finishing touches to her colourful carpet.

It may only be in the design stage at the moment, but the 33-year-old will soon begin stitching her carpet for real.

As she will tell you, this is no ordinary carpet. This is an authentic Syrian carpet – known the world over for their intricate designs and handmade quality.

“Syrian carpets are so beautiful and are part of our culture,” said Manal. “You can’t find carpets like them anywhere else in the world.” More

Red Cross puts menstruation on the curriculum

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Menstrual-hygiene-day-Kenya

Menstruation matters. For menstrual hygiene day, we find out why understanding menstruation is so important by visiting a Kenyan school that has got pupils talking about the previously taboo subject.

Stood outside her classroom in the scorching midday sun, Betty Cherotich suddenly becomes very animated when I ask her about menstrual hygiene issues in her community.

“I used to hide my sanitary products from my husband,” she proclaims. “Even I didn’t know the full facts about menstruation.” More

What’s going on in Burundi? The crisis explained

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Burundi civil unrest

Violence and flooding have left thousands of people in need of help in Burundi. Alessandro Bini, an aid worker with the Norwegian Red Cross, has lived in the central African nation for six years. Find out what he has to say about Burundi and how people are coping.

What is the situation today?    

What I see happening in Burundi today makes me very sad. There are several factors that have come together to create this crisis.

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Seven days that shook Syria

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Syria-AleppoIt has been a traumatic week in Syria – more so than usual. Numerous attacks on hospitals in Aleppo have robbed people of vital health care and highlighted a flagrant disregard for humanitarian law.  Find out what happened and our response.

It began on 27 April with an attack on an Aleppo hospital and the death of a leading doctor that hit the headlines.

The Al Quds hospital in eastern Aleppo was completely destroyed. The hospital was supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

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160,000 refugees, two ambulances and a man called Moses

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Tanzania Burundi

In one of the world’s largest refugee camps, there is little rest for the man charged with running the Red Cross ambulance service. Even on a quiet day the demand can be non-stop, as Niki Clark finds out.

Moses Fugwe is on his phone more than most. But the 26-year-old is not playing games or texting friends. Moses is saving lives.

He is tasked with co-ordinating the ambulance service for the Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania, home to around 160,000 people.

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