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:

Myanmar floods: “Our biggest problem now is clean water”

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blog-picAung Zaw is used to living with uncertainty. The 30-year-old farmer lives in a house on stilts, perched on the banks of the river Hlang.

With each passing monsoon, there’s the possibility that the river will burst its banks and engulf the surrounding paddy fields.

This year, the impact of heavy monsoon rains and Cyclone Komen, which hit in July, spelled disaster for Aung Zaw and other farmers across the country.

More than 1.3 million people across 12 of Myanmar’s 14 regions have been affected by the worst flooding in decades.

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Haiti houses – see the difference

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Housing-before-after-blog“One day the Red Cross came and asked me some questions,” says Marie Bernadette, perched outside her new home.

“Then they came back and said they will build me a new house. I felt so happy, it was such a relief.

“No other organisation was thinking about us, it was just the Red Cross. There has been such an improvement in our lives here, it’s great to live in a clean area.”

Marie has seen her neighbourhood, Delmas 19, change a great deal since the massive earthquake of 2010.

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Haiti – the long goodbye

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The time has come to say farewell to Haiti. David Peppiatt, our international director, looks at our achievements and why Haiti provided us with a huge test.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Haiti has been one of the toughest places that the British Red Cross has ever worked in.

It has thrown up challenges that we have never faced before. It has pushed our staff to breaking point. It has seen us achieve extraordinary things.

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Listen: How do you help 144,000 refugees in a camp built for 50,000 people?

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The Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania was built in 1997 to house 50,000 people.

Today, it’s home to more than 144,000 people.

Its population has swelled with the recent influx of refugees from neighbouring Burundi, where violence has forced thousands to flee.

British Red Cross aid worker Kenny Hamilton has just returned from Tanzania and says the situation in the camp is hugely concerning.


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Why I went to fight Ebola… three times

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©IFRC/DingemanRijken

The Ebola outbreak is far from over. The disease has once again reared its head in Liberia, which had been declared Ebola-free. Recent spikes in cases in Sierra Leone and Guinea also show there is no room for complacency.  

Michelle Gundry, an intensive care nurse from Coventry, has worked at our Ebola treatment centres in Sierra Leone on three occasions. The mother-of-two recalls why she felt the need to help and the humanity that she found.

I’d never worked in a humanitarian crisis before. It wasn’t something I’d ever thought about doing.

I couldn’t ignore the images or stories in the media from West Africa. I had the skills and knowledge to help, so there were no excuses not to. More

Life on the run in South Sudan

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South SudanFleeing violence isn’t new for the South Sudanese. It’s the sad reality of life in a country that has been plagued by decades of conflict. The Red Cross’ Daniel Littlejohn-Carrillo shares his experience of being evacuated amid an upsurge in fighting.  

A loud hiss whistles out as we deflate the Land Cruiser’s tyres. A colleague sprays white paint over the big red crosses that are meant to protect the cars and identify them as International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) property.

Now five of them are immobile, or so we think. The one remaining vehicle will take us to the airstrip shortly. More

What hope in the refugee camp the size of Cambridge?

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Tanzania

Mathias and his family fled violence in Burundi

“I was born in a refugee camp here in Tanzania in 1984. This is already my third time fleeing my home country,” Ndayisimiye Mathias says wearily.

He is one of thousands of Burundians waiting to be assigned their own tent at the Nyarugusu refugee camp.

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