Appeals

Giving warmth this winter: Photos from Syria

© SARC

© SARC

Millions of people in Syria have been forced to flee their homes. As winter closes in, many are living without fuel or electricity in temporary shelters, without proper protection from the weather.

In the city of Hama, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent has been giving people essential supplies to help them survive the winter.

Families are picking up thermal blankets, mattresses and mats – which can be used to insulate the floor of wherever they are sheltering.

In October alone the Hama branch gave out 25,000 blankets, 5,000 mattresses, and 6,000 mats. Its staff and volunteers have also helped to repair housing, protecting families from the cold.

Get a glimpse of this work in our quick photo gallery. More

Ebola: ‘Nothing can prepare you for the look in a patient’s eyes’

©IFRC/JariLindholm

©IFRC/JariLindholm

There’s no such thing as a good day when you’re treating Ebola patients, writes Sarah Robinson, a Red Cross nurse working in our Ebola treatment centre in Kenema, Sierra Leone. 

Whenever I get home from the Ebola treatment centre (ETC), one of the team members will always ask how my day was. I’m never sure how to answer.

Working in an ETC doesn’t seem to be a job where you can say you had a great day or an awful day. I love my job immensely; the national staff I work with and the patients I care for are all inspiring. I’ve learnt so much from them and I know I will continue to do so.

The multitude of daily challenges we experience make the job interesting and varied. Despite this, when the reply, “I had a good day” enters my mind, the words always stick in my throat.

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South Sudan crisis – staring into the abyss  

©ICRC/JacobZocherman

©ICRC/JacobZocherman

South Sudan continues to slip under the radar. The crisis in the world’s newest nation doesn’t generate the headlines that emanate from Syria, Iraq or the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, yet there are vast humanitarian needs in South Sudan.

It is one year since conflict erupted in the country. More than one million people have fled their homes. So why is the world so silent?

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Winter in Syria: “They had nothing to protect them from the snow”

The Lebanese Red Cross give blankets to refugees. ©Tommasso Della Longa/IFRC

The Lebanese Red Cross give blankets to refugees. ©Tommasso Della Longa/IFRC

Aid worker Hosam Faysal knows exactly how tough winters in Syria and its neighbours can be. Since the country’s crisis began, he has been working to get basic help such as blankets and clean water to people affected by the conflict. Millions have been forced to flee their homes.

He says: “The weather is harsh and cold during winter. In many locations the temperature can drop down to about zero degrees.

“I still remember the winter of the crisis in 2012, when the photos came in from one of the refugee camps. It was flooded, and the tents were covered by snow.

“One of the scenes that I still have in the back of my mind is of a family who had nothing to protect them from the snow, except a few blankets and some material they had hung from the trees around them.” More

Ebola: dignity in death

The Ebola outbreak has dramatically changed funerals in affected parts of West Africa.

Mourners have been replaced by Red Cross burial teams, sealed in sweltering protective suits.

Rituals such as washing the bodies of loved ones before the burial have been abandoned. They are simply too dangerous, as the disease is transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. This risk remains even after the person has died.

Since the outbreak began in March, Red Cross teams working across Ebola-hit areas have given more than 5,400 people safe, dignified burials. It’s not an easy task, as these photos of teams in action in Liberia show.
A crowd watches as a body on a stretcher is carried from a house
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Iraq: Life inside a refugee camp

A boy walking with a crate and large plastic bag

© Raefah Makki/IFRC

Fighting in Iraq has forced more than a million people to flee their homes. The Khanke refugee camp, near the city of Dohuk, is home to more than 1,000 families.

Explore our gallery and discover life in the camp – where the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is helping vulnerable people get vital food and clean water.

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Ebola outbreak: “I’m good, don’t worry about me”

©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Sylla Fatoumata’s mobile phone vibrates every few minutes, making the table between us wobble.

Occasionally she glances at the screen and smiles. “My boys,” she tells me, shaking her head and laughing. “They contact me every day to see how I am.”

But Sylla is not a mother. The 28-year-old is the youngest of three sisters and, when the Ebola virus disease crept into Guinea’s capital Conakry, in March, she became the Red Cross focal point for safe and dignified burials in the city.

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