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:

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



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.


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


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.


Shoreham air disaster seen through the eyes of our volunteers



The British Red Cross is a familiar sight at the scene of emergencies and major incidents in the UK, and in the case of the Shoreham Airshow disaster we were there right from the start.

One month after the worst UK airshow accident in 63 years, the Red Cross is continuing to support those affected through its dedicated support line.

Immediate reaction

When the accident took place on the first day of the Shoreham Airshow in August, volunteers and staff from our Kent and Sussex teams were already there providing first aid cover for the event.

So as the incident unfolded, 10 event first aiders, four ambulances and two specially designed first aid vehicles were ready to respond.


Ebola crisis: Exhausted but not defeated



“Ebola was an unknown disease for Sierra Leoneans. When it came to our country, people didn’t believe it was Ebola.”

Abu Bakarr Tarawallie cuts the look of a weary man. It would be an understatement to say that the last 18 months have been challenging for him and his Sierra Leone Red Cross colleagues.

They know they are close to ridding their country of Ebola. But equally, they know that the disease has halted the green shoots of development in post-war Sierra Leone.

“We had so many goals for our country, some of which were very ambitious,” he says.


From Celtic FC to a caring schoolboy, how you’re supporting refugees


Refugees stand in a queueWhen Oliver Hall heard about the plight of refugees, he wanted to do his bit to help.

The seven-year-old schoolboy drew a picture, called ‘Lost on the Road’, about people who have had to walk long distances.

Oliver, who has autism, said he simply wanted to help someone start a new life by raising a bit of money.

His mum, Charlotte, was going to buy the picture from him, until a friend suggested auctioning it on ebay.

Incredibly, the bid at the time of writing stood at a fantastic £82. Money raised will go towards our Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal.


In pictures – mobile surgery in South Sudan



Conflict in South Sudan has left communities without access to the most basic of health care.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has five mobile surgical teams in South Sudan.

They travel across the country to support those who desperately need their help.

Since the start of the conflict in December 2013, ICRC medical teams have performed more than 6,000 emergency surgeries.




In pictures – the reality facing migrants on Kos


p-GRC0151Since the beginning of the year, more than 160,000 people have arrived in Greece.

The vast majority cross the Aegean Sea to one of the many islands close to the Turkish coast.


Earlier this month, some 21,000 people arrived in Greece over the course of seven days –half the total number who arrived in the whole of 2014.