Emergencies

Fighting Ebola: “I’ve never experienced anything like this”

p-SLE0632Ebola has claimed nearly 5,000 lives across Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. The outbreak is getting worse. John Punter, from Bristol, has been in Sierra Leone for two months. The 59-year-old describes his experience of fighting Ebola and how we can stop the spread of the deadly disease.

Before coming to Sierra Leone, my eldest son asked me: “Do you know what you’re getting yourself into?”

If truth be told, I didn’t – no one did. Worse still, it has taken the world even longer to wake up to the grim reality of this Ebola outbreak.

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Cardiac arrest runner gets lucky escape

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Sean Deans with first aid volunteers David Hart and Steven Gay. PIC: Alasdair MacLeod

When a young athlete collapsed at the end of a half-marathon, our cool-headed volunteers saved his life.

It was only as he crossed the finish line that Sean Deans realised all might not be well.

The 29-year-old, who had just completed the Great Scottish Run, recalled: “I just felt as if I needed to catch my breath. Next thing I know, I woke up in an ambulance.”

It turns out the army reservist had suffered cardiac arrest. As he lay there on the ground in Glasgow, he actually ceased breathing and his heart stopped. There seemed little hope. More

Ebola myths put lives in danger

IMG_2280Internet rumours claim the Red Cross is deliberately giving Ebola to people in West Africa. This is not true.

Every day, Red Cross staff and volunteers – most of whom are from the countries affected by the outbreak – risk their lives to help prevent the spread of the disease. Their only focus is fighting a virus that has caused thousands of deaths and placed many more people in danger. More

Surviving Ebola: Red Cross discharges first two patients from Sierra Leone treatment centre

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Osman and Kadiatu, pictured centre, holding their discharge papers

When the Red Cross opened a treatment centre recently in Sierra Leone, Osman Sesay was the second confirmed Ebola patient to arrive.

When he crossed the threshold of the Kenema centre, he was listless and lethargic, with the glazed-over look of someone infected with the deadly disease.

Over the course of the past two weeks, Osman watched 11 fellow patients being taken for burial in the newly-dug cemetery, while he continued to grow stronger. He interacted with staff more, he moved more, he began asking for more food.

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Nepal’s solar-powered blood bank will save lives after deadly earthquakes

©NRCS

©NRCS

How will a ground-breaking blood bank, made from shipping containers and using solar panels, save lives after earthquakes in Nepal?

Nepal’s capital Kathmandu is at high risk of being devastated by a major earthquake. Such a disaster could injure more than 300,000 people, and leave more than a million homeless.

This year the Nepalese Red Cross Society is building an innovative new blood bank with help from the British Red Cross, as part of a huge project helping the city and its people prepare for earthquakes. It will collect and store blood from the day it opens, ensuring a supply is available the second a disaster happens. More

South Sudan crisis: what childhood is this?

South-Sudan-SB-blog-IIISouth Sudan is mired in conflict. The daily realities of life in the world’s newest nation are hard to comprehend. In this blog, Seema Biswas, a field surgeon with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), shares her experiences of working in South Sudan.

This time a fortnight ago, I was waiting anxiously for a helicopter that had been despatched to take me and my colleagues back to Juba from the field.

We were leaving three days late as the rainy season makes some airstrips impassable. We waited quietly, surrounded by children sporting football shirts from around the world, as the helicopter refuelled.

I wondered whether one day I would watch one of these children wearing his own shirt and playing for South Sudan on TV.

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West Africa Ebola outbreak: new health centre in pictures

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A new Ebola treatment centre has been opened by the Red Cross in one of the worst affected areas in Sierra Leone.

The centre, on the outskirts of Kenema city, received its first patients within hours of opening on 15 September. Among them was an 11-year-old girl.

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