Category: Appeals

Landmines and gunshot wounds: A London nurse in South Sudan

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South SudanSwapping South Sudan for south London, Claudia Dias is starting to readjust to life back in the UK.

Gunshot wounds, malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia, dehydration and landmine injuries. Hardly the everyday ailments found on her NHS ward.

For the last six months, the 29-year-old Portuguese nurse has been working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in South Sudan where her nursing skills have been put to the test.

“The work is completely different, you have to learn quickly and adapt while working with very basic equipment,” said Claudia.

“It is hard to see children and women with gunshot wounds. They are not involved in the fighting. They are just caught in the middle.”

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Letters from a crisis: wind, rain and wheelie bin rides

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Have you ever ridden a wheelie-bin in a roaring gale?

Gwen Wilson has seen it all. After retiring as a nurse, she worked in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis. Now Gwen has swapped her life in Sheffield for a refugee camp in northern Greece.

Writing to you from Thessalonica, Gwen gives her reflections on supporting refugees in Greece.

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Prank call or refugees trapped in a sinking boat?

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Migrants rescued by a Coast Guard shipDawn in Rome. Sixty-six-year-old Gianni Brusadelli is woken suddenly by the shrill sound of his phone. He answers, bleary-eyed, to a man shouting in a mix of French and English.

Brusadelli hangs up, suspecting a prank. But according to The Times, the calls continue.  As the sounds of an engine and waves hit Brusadelli’s ear, he realises he is speaking to a boat full of migrants, stranded at sea.

They are trying to reach the coast guard – but they’ve been given the wrong number. More

Radio Lesvos: the show helping refugees in Greece

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Elderly man is helped to disembark a dinghy. The Greek island of Lesbos is one of the main entering point to Europe for refugees. Larger vessels, rubber boats and dinghys from Turkey cross around 5 miles of Mediterranian Sea to arrive in Lesbos.

Most of us are familiar with the disorientation you feel arriving in a foreign country. Maybe it’s the language, or that blast of heat (or cold) as you get off the plane. But it can take a little while to find your feet on foreign soil.

Those refugees arriving in dinghies on the Greek island of Lesvos are no different. Many speak no Greek, and have only what possessions they can carry.

They may have been separated or even lost loved ones on their journey. Many have fled violence and conflict.

But a Red Cross radio show is helping many refugees when they arrive in Greece.

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Meet the children of Idomeni

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We all remember the thrill of jumping into a good puddle. Yet for the children living in Idomeni camp, a week of heavy rain means puddles have long ceased to hold much wonder.

Despite their sodden blankets and shoes, the children remain filled with hope of a better life. They hope that the border will open soon so they can continue northward to be reunited with their loved ones.

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Helping refugees on the streets of Athens

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Border closures have left thousands of refugees stranded in Greece. In freezing conditions, many are waiting for news on the streets of Athens. Nigel Ede, a British Red Cross aid worker, joined a team of volunteers to see how they are helping.

I arrive at the family shelter run by the Hellenic Red Cross around 7pm after work. It’s a cold night and I am well wrapped. Aggelos and Alexandra who help manage the family shelter have spent much of the afternoon preparing bags with a blanket, dry food, toiletries and bottled water. Down a narrow stair case in the basement, two large cauldrons of water come to the boil to fill large thermoses lined up on the counter.

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Greece: Europe’s road to nowhere

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As talks to stop the flow of migrants into Greece continue, more than 1,300 vulnerable people continue to arrive on Greek islands every day. Tens of thousands have been stranded across Greece for the past weeks.

Many of them have made their way north to the border town of Idomeni. They sleep in tents pitched on train tracks in cold winter winds. Queuing, often for hours to get food or use the toilet, some have waited here for weeks in the hope of crossing into Macedonia.

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Europe refugee crisis: So close to death, so close to safety

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Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, refugees

Authorities in France have started to demolish part of the refugee camp in Calais known as the ‘jungle’. Estimates as to the number of people who could be affected range from 800 to 3,455. With nowhere else to go, refugees could relocate to the camp at Grande-Synthe, near Dunkirk, where conditions are even worse than Calais. Bryar, a nurse from Iraq, is among the thousands of refugees already living in Grande-Synthe.

In the last 18 months, Bryar has stared at death on more than one occasion.

Certain death was the reason why he fled Iraq. He almost perished aboard a sinking inflatable boat in the Mediterranean. Upon reaching Europe, only scavenging for discarded food kept him from starvation.

And now the 27-year-old nurse is in the midst of a squalid camp in northern France with little protection from the winter.

Yet his story of tussles with death is not special or unique. It is the norm. Talk to anyone at the Grande-Synthe camp and they will all tell you similar tales.

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