13 things you didn’t know about the world’s newest nation

South SudanIn South Sudan, where conflict is having a devastating effect, you can still find natural wonders, wrestling fanatics and a rich culture. Take a journey round this vast new country…

1. South Sudan is home to the Sudd, one of the world’s largest wetlands. During the rainy season, it can cover an area of more than 130,000 square km (50,200 square miles) – roughly the size of England.


The boy with Ebola who called me mother


Samba, picture middle, was the only Ebola patient at the treatment centre

Oxfordshire nurse Barbara Nichols met Samba while working at the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kono, Sierra Leone. Samba was the only Ebola patient at the centre. In this blog, Barbara shares her story… 

Samba lost his father and a sister to Ebola. His mother died of a heart attack soon after their deaths – the grief was too much to bear, Samba told me.

I met Samba on my first day at the Ebola treatment centre (ETC) in mid-February. He was admitted with Ebola symptoms and was later confirmed to have the deadly disease.

Aged 23, he was the same age as my son, which is perhaps why I took such an interest in his welfare.


Gallery: Life-saving aid hits the ground in Yemen

A plane on the tarmac


As fighting rages in Yemen, two Red Cross aeroplanes have arrived with vital aid – including urgently needed medical supplies.

See what happened when these planes touched down.

The Red Cross is one of only a few aid agencies working inside Yemen.

You can fund more vital help by donating to our Yemen Crisis Appeal. More

Evacuated from Sierra Leone and the boy I can’t forget


A Red Cross nurse in Sierra Leone – ©IFRC/TommyTrenchard

Dr. Sophie Reshamwalla’s time in Sierra Leone was cut short. The Red Cross doctor was evacuated from our treatment centre as a precautionary measure earlier this year. In this blog, Sophie talks about the journey home and the boy she cannot forget.

I can’t stop thinking about Musa. The last time I saw him, he was inside the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kono, doing a strange locomotion dance while singing a song about coconuts.

He has been on my mind ever since I was hastily evacuated from Sierra Leone.

Musa, aged 10, arrived at the treatment centre frightened and alone. When I first met him in the assessment area, he was trembling and burst into tears. Who could blame him?


Crisis in Yemen: Your questions answered

Where’s Yemen? Who lives there?

A map showing Yemen and the Middle East


Yemen is in the Middle East, directly below Saudi Arabia and about 500 miles from Dubai.

It’s twice the size of the UK and home to about 26 million people, more than double the population of Scotland and Wales combined. It’s one of the poorest countries in the Middle East.

What’s the crisis about?

Yemen has been affected by armed conflict for decades. This has made it harder for people there to earn money, go to school or even get everyday essentials such as food, water and healthcare.

But in the last few months the fighting, which involves a wide range of different armed groups, has become much worse in most of the country’s provinces. More

Listen: Why is the Red Cross treating cows?



Life without cattle for people in South Sudan is unimaginable. Cattle are currency and they play a huge role in the lives of nomadic tribes throughout the country.

The conflict in South Sudan has left cattle exposed to diseases. Losing cows to disease could devastate livelihoods for thousands of people.

That’s why the Red Cross is vaccinating and treating cows – more than half a million have been vaccinated so far.

Listen to this podcast with Rob Donnellan, a returning Red Cross aid worker, to find out why cattle are so important to the South Sudanese.


“The world has forgotten”: An artist’s take on the Syria crisis

A man holds a milk bottle

© Matt Percival/BRC

How can one image sum up four years of violence, fear and hardship?

A new artwork is using more than a thousand milk bottles to mark four years since the start of the conflict in Syria.

No One Home has been curated by Syrian artist Ibrahim Fakhri, who now lives in Oxford. He describes the impact of the crisis – and reveals how art can show people the reality of life for those affected. More