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:

What’s going on in Burundi? The crisis explained


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.


Seven days that shook Syria


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).


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


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.


The Kenyan village where children are teaching adults



When it comes to education, it’s usually the role of the parents to encourage and inspire their children to learn.

Not so for Magdalene Langat. The gregarious mother-of-three isn’t shy in admitting that it’s her children who are inspiring her to learn.

“I’m studying maths and Kiswahili,” said Magdalene, with a proud smile etched across her face.

“I wanted to enrol for adult education as I’ve seen how well my kids have been doing at school.”


Landmines and gunshot wounds: A London nurse in South Sudan


South SudanSwapping South Sudan for south London, Claudia Dias is starting to readjust to life back in the UK.

Gunshot wounds, malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia, dehydration and landmine injuries. Hardly the everyday ailments found on her NHS ward.

For the last six months, the 29-year-old Portuguese nurse has been working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in South Sudan where her nursing skills have been put to the test.

“The work is completely different, you have to learn quickly and adapt while working with very basic equipment,” said Claudia.

“It is hard to see children and women with gunshot wounds. They are not involved in the fighting. They are just caught in the middle.”


Talking toilets over tea in Kenya


Kenya Clean Start Appeal

“We would get sick all the time, but we didn’t know what was making us sick.” Edna Mastamet is sat cradling her grandchild in her small mud house in western Kenya.

The 53-year-old shakes her head as she recounts how bad conditions used to be in her rural village.

“It was so dirty, people would just defecate anywhere they could,” she explained, pointing towards a nearby road that doubled up as a toilet.

“No one had toilets, there were a few makeshift structures, but nothing proper.”


Clean water and toilets – it’s child’s play in Kenya


Clean water and toilets KenyaClean water and toilets can make a world of difference, just ask the teachers and children at Kimangora Primary School in Kenya.

Since the school got new toilets and clean water in September last year, the diseases that hampered pupils’ health and education are becoming a thing of the past.

“We used to have a fluctuation in attendance,” said Solomon Chepkwony, a teacher at the Bomet County school.

“We had pupils who would be here for one school term, and then not show for the second. That was because of ill health and poor facilities.

“We only had two toilets that were being shared by more than 60 pupils and staff. The toilets were terrible because they were being used by so many people. They would become very dirty and smelly.

“Instead of using them, children would defecate outside.”


Kenya’s dirty water: Three simple steps, one huge difference


Clean Start AppealClean water, toilets and washing your hands: three things that are so vital in preventing the spread of disease.

Now thanks to people like you, a new Red Cross water and sanitation project is helping 155,000 people in Kenya.

Our water expert Claire Grisaffi explains how we’re spending the money raised through our Clean Start Appeal to help families in Kenya.