Emergencies

A different kind of fire-fighter

Andy stood outside his fire damaged house with the two Red Cross volunteers who helped him start the recovery process following a house fire

Watching your home burn can be heart-breaking. As your belongings go up in flames, it can feel like your memories and life are too.  

“You don’t know how you’ll feel until that happens and I don’t want to feel like that again,” said Andy Goodwin.

Earlier on this year, he watched the fire service tackle a blazing fire which engulfed his home in Linden, Gloucester. He and his family had made it out safely thanks to a working smoke alarm.

But standing out in the cold on the street and in their nightclothes, Andy couldn’t focus on what to do next: “I was all at sixes and sevens. I was all over the place.”

Fortunately two British Red Cross volunteers were called upon by the fire service – and they had everything Andy needed at that very moment to cope with this crisis.

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Surgery by head-torch: life as a doctor in South Sudan

Red Cross volunteers carry person on stretcher

Renewed violence in South Sudan has begun a fresh cycle of displacement for thousands of people.

Since December 2013, more than two million people have fled their homes.

Earlier this month, armed confrontations in the capital, Juba, forced many organisations to suspend their work.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provides protection and assistance to victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence around the world. It is often the part of International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement which is first on the scene when fighting breaks out.

So it was for Colin Berry, an anaesthetist from Exeter who works with the Red Cross. Colin is recently back from a mission to the town of Raja in the north west of the country. Shooting and looting in Raja has recently injured many people and sent scores into the bush to hide.

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Yellow fever: a quiet crisis in Angola

In the highly populated Viana municipality, 54 Red Cross volunteers are using mobilisation techniques to inform people about the Yellow Fever.

Since December a quiet crisis has been rumbling in Angola.

A crisis that is now threatening to get on of control.

What started out in pockets of the capital, Luanda, has now spread to large swathes of the country.

Angola’s neighbour to the north – the Democratic Republic of the Congo – has recently declared an epidemic in three provinces.

There are now real fears it could spread still further.

What is this crisis caused by?

A virus prevented by a single inoculation.

Yellow fever.

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Speaking for those who cannot: supporting survivors of sexual violence

Three women stand with their backs to the viewer on dusty ground in Africa with only their long skirts and feet showing

“When I went to Pascaline’s parents to ask for her hand, they agreed even though I only had half the dowry. When we got married, we were in love.”

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jacques still speaks about his wife Pascaline with love.

“Years went by, we had children, and we were still happy together,” he continues.

Then Pascaline was raped by armed men at the side of the road. They stole everything she had.

“I felt like dying. I never imagined this would happen,” she said

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A hug, a smile and Elmo: helping children in Fiji

A girl in Fiji smiles as she gets a hug from an Elmo puppet almost as big as she is

What does Elmo have to do with cyclones in Fiji?

More than you might guess.

On 20 and 21 February, Tropical Cyclone Winston smashed into Fiji with winds of up to 325 kilometres an hour.

Approximately 350,000 people were affected. Around 120,000 of them were children.

When it was over, 28,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Some families lost everything.

Thousands of children now go to school in tents because their school buildings are no longer standing.

Some children were so terrified by the cyclone that they are still scared of any rain.

They may even start to run in panic – across roads, into rivers – to escape.

This is where Elmo and his friends can help.

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Refugees arrive in Italy to uncertain futures

refugees arrive in italy

The port looks almost festive as the evening settles in. The last rays of the setting sun reflect off a shimmering mass of silver and gold.

Yet this is anything but a festive occasion.

The silver and gold reflections are from emergency blankets. They are wrapped around the shoulders of people who, only hours ago, were bobbing in small boats on the surface of the Mediterranean.

These people have travelled over what is currently the deadliest known route in the world for migrants making a bid for safety: the journey from Libya to Italy by sea.

So far, 2,521 people have died this year attempting the crossing.

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The curious case of the clowns who wash hands

clowns teach hand-washing to a group of children

Fateh and Uday love clowning around.

Like so many others, these two young men have fled Syria and found themselves living in a refugee camp in Greece.

They face their circumstances with courage and by keeping busy. Both volunteer as clowns with our hygiene team in their refugee camp.

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A holiday far from home: Eid al-Fitr on Iraq’s front lines

A mother holds a young child while people walk behind them in a desert landscape

On 6 and 7 July, around a billion people – approximately a seventh of the world’s population – are celebrating Eid al-Fitr.

Celebrations will take place across the world – from the UK to Russia, India and beyond. Marking the end of Ramadan, the holiday celebrates the power of family and community.

People may also give thanks for having the strength to endure difficulties in their lives.

But this year, unprecedented numbers of families are far from home on Eid al-Fitr.

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