Category: Appeals

From Corby to Mozambique: behind the scenes at the Red Cross after Cyclone Idai

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What images does the news of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique conjure up for you?

Charity emergency teams giving out supplies to people who fled their homes? Aid workers with food for hungry children?

All of this does happen. But for every emergency worker on the ground, many more work behind the scenes.

Their role is vital in making sure all the emergency supplies and equipment get to the right place at the right time.

As a logistics officer based in the UK, Gemma Blakey’s job is crucial to relief operations.

A self-confessed spreadsheet lover, she uses her meticulous planning and organisational skills to spring into action.

“I immediately check our stock and start talking to colleagues about who is available to respond, and what information we are getting about the needs on the ground,” she said.

“Then we can decide how the British Red Cross can best support the people in crisis.”

Gemma was already getting ready to help just a day after Cyclone Idai hit southern Africa.

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Cyclone Idai: meet the Red Cross volunteers saving lives and fighting cholera in Mozambique

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In Mozambique, a woman and two young children sit on a blanket on the floor in an evacuation centre after Cyclone Idai

Amelia and her children were rescued from floods by a Red Cross volunteer

Life changed for everyone in Beira, Mozambique, after Cyclone Idai tore through the city. The resulting floods and destruction is worse than anyone can remember.

Latest reports say that the cyclone affected 1.85 million people – the number living in Birmingham and Liverpool combined.

Thousands of people lost their homes and Red Cross volunteers were no exception.

But despite their personal tragedies, volunteers started to help immediately.

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Crisis in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe: Red Cross providing urgent aid after Cyclone Idai

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In Beira, Mozambique, people carry suitcases and bags on their head while walking through flood waters caused by Cyclone Idai

© IFRC

This blog was updated on 26 March 2019.

No food, no power, no clean water and no way in or out.

This is life in Beira, Mozambique, a few days after Cyclone Idai tore through this city of half a million people.

So far, we know that 417 people have died in Mozambique and this is expected to rise significantly. Over 1,000 have been injured. In the three countries, the death toll is expected to go up.

Latest figures say that 18,000 people have had to flee their homes. Over 6,000 houses and 18 hospitals have been destroyed. Overall, a staggering 1,850,000 people have been affected in Mozambique alone.

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How I became homeless and hungry: Tallabah’s story from Yemen

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Tallabah, a woman who had to flee her home in Yemen, stares straight ahead

Tallabah in Yemen © Azzam al-Zubairi

Two years ago, Tallabah and her family lived in their own house.

Now, they camp in a tent pitched in a graveyard.

To feed them, she must beg for food.

Tallabah is one of a staggering 20 million people in Yemen who don’t have enough to eat.

We’re sharing her story to put a face to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

We hope it will help us all understand why Yemen’s people desperately need our help.

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After the storm: how the Red Cross is helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon

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Red Cross workers carry someone on a stretcher through the snow in Lebanon

Winter, Aarsal in Lebanon © Lebanese Red Cross

I have just come back from Lebanon and have seen first-hand how Syrian refugees there are struggling.

More than a million Syrians refugees now live in Lebanon. You may have seen in the news that harsh winter weather has hit them hard.

Vulnerable families are picking up the pieces after a storm drenched the tents in which many Syrians now live. Heavy snow and floodwaters and have damaged hundreds of makeshift camps.

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Hundreds killed in Indonesia tsunami: Red Cross helps immediately

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Red Cross ambulance teams help a woman on a stretcher after the Indonesia tsunami

For the second time in three months, a deadly tsunami has hit Indonesia.

After dark on 22 December, a tsunami wave ploughed into the Indonesian island of Java.

At least 222 people have been killed. More than 840 are injured and 28 are missing. Sadly, these numbers are expected to rise.

Banten on Java was one of the worst affected areas and its seaside district of Pandeglang was crowded with holiday tourists when the tsunami hit.

Over 550 houses, 350 boats and nine hotels were badly damaged.

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Fighting Ebola in a conflict zone

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In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a Red Cross volunteer wearing surgical scrubs helps another volunteer get dressed in a protective suit that covers his whole body and eyes to avoid Ebola

Protective clothing for safe burial, © Baron Nkoy/ICRC

Your country is at war and has been for years. And there are not just two armies fighting, but instead around 30 armed groups.

Anywhere and everywhere can be a battlefield and nobody knows when the next round of violence will break out.

They don’t just attack each other – kidnappings, random shootings and sexual assaults are common.

Elections are a month away. You feel it’s likely that tensions will get worse.

Then people start to die from a disease you’ve never seen or heard of before.

People suddenly arrive from other towns, or even other countries and continents.

They tell you to change how you have always done things so you and your family won’t get ill. But you don’t know if what they are saying is true.

Even the name they use for this mystery disease is new to you: Ebola.

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Yemen crisis: “this is reality”

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In Yemen, a man and woman sit on small boxes in a courtyard littered with debris while they watch their young granddaughter sleep on cardboard boxes on the ground

Yemen: grandparents with their sleeping granddaughter © ICRC / Abduljabbar Zeyad

“Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. It’s not just in the media. It’s reality.”

These words from Indra Adhikari in Yemen struck me to the core.

Through one of modern technology’s miracles, Indra, his two colleagues and I spoke from my home and his office.

Suddenly, via a crackling computer audio link, this crisis was no longer half a world away. It was in my living room.

Right now, after more than three years of conflict, people in Yemen could be at risk of facing the worst famine the world has seen in 100 years, according to the UN.

And an average of 75 people are killed or injured every day.

Nearly every child, woman and man in Yemen is affected.

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