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:

Ebola outbreak declared over in Sierra Leone

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©BritishRedCross/TommyTrenchard

©BritishRedCross/TommyTrenchard

For the last 530 days, the people of Sierra Leone have been living under a cloud. It’s a cloud that has lingered since May 2014 when Ebola breached the country’s borders.

Today, with the declaration that the Ebola outbreak is now over in Sierra Leone, that cloud has been lifted.

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How potatoes are paying for children’s education in Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe

Food shortages are not a new phenomenon for the people of Zimbabwe, but the crisis today is much worse than previous years.

Jane Adisu, who heads our work in southern Africa, explains how we’re helping people overcome erratic rainfall and El Niño.

Zimbabweans sow their seeds in November and pray for a good rainy season. After a succession of disappointing harvests, those prayers will be even more desperate.

Recurrent food shortages over the last few years have left communities in a precarious situation, particularly in the west and south of the country.

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Q&A: What you need to know about El Niño

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p-PHL2894You may have heard about El Niño in the news recently.

It’s been claimed that this global weather phenomenon could lead to a prolonged freezing winter in the UK – more sensationalist headlines than fact.

It’s also been reported that El Niño could have been behind Hurricane Patricia – the biggest storm ever recorded in the western hemisphere – that hit Mexico at the weekend.

One thing is for sure. An El Niño event is well underway and it could have significant repercussions for communities across the world, particularly those in developing countries.

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Prefer typing to running a marathon? Take part in a mapathon

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mapathon5

©MissingMaps/HarryWood

The streets of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo are a world away from Facebook’s spacious UK headquarters.

But for one night, a connection was made between the two, thanks to a group of enthusiastic volunteers.

Facebook London was the latest venue to host a Missing Maps ‘mapathon’ for around 50 people who were there to quite literally put Lubumbashi on the map.

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South Sudan: “People don’t want much, but they need safety”

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©ICRC/JacobZocherman

In the 18 months that Franz Rauchenstein has headed up Red Cross relief work in South Sudan, he has seen the country brought to its knees by conflict.

The humanitarian situation has deteriorated and gross human rights abuses – sexual violence, abductions, executions – have lent the conflict a particularly nefarious edge.

Attacks against aid workers, including several against the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), have become all too regular.

Rauchenstein, who has been working with the ICRC for 22 years, knows that his job was to help alleviate the vast humanitarian crisis in the world’s newest nation.

His sense of dismay at the current situation is palpable.

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Watch: The moment a father and son are reunited after fleeing Burundi

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TanzaniaThe violence and civil unrest that has blighted Burundi in recent months shows no sign of abating.

The volatile situation has seen more than 190,000 people flee the African nation since April.

Tanzania, Uganda, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda have all taken in thousands of refugees.

Among those to reach the safety of Rwanda’s Mahama refugee camp was Fredric Ngango. But he did so without his son, who was too sick to travel.

Watch the moment they were reunited again, thanks to the Red Cross’ family tracing service.

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