Category: Emergencies

Record-breaking two cyclones hit Mozambique: urgent aid needed after Cyclone Kenneth

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A picture from the air shows flooding and destruction of homes and roads by Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique

Cyclone Kenneth is one of the strongest storms ever to hit Mozambique

A second huge cyclone – Cyclone Kenneth – has slammed into Mozambique. This comes just six weeks after Cyclone Idai killed hundreds of people and damaged 35,000 homes.

Cyclone Kenneth also caused devastation on the island nation of Comoros and the neighbouring country of Tanzania.

Never, since records began, have two such enormous cyclones struck Mozambique in the same year. It is unusual even for one storm of this size to hit the country.

And a cyclone has never been known to hit Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado, where Cyclone Kenneth landed.

Yet Cyclone Kenneth was a huge category 4 storm, with winds of 140 miles per hour and 8-metre waves. This is taller than the average two-story house.

“Rains from the storm have already caused flooding of over 2 metres (6.5 feet) in Pemba, the regional capital of Cabo,” said Luke Tredget, British Red Cross disaster management coordinator for southern Africa.

“To put this in perspective, average rainfall in a whole year in the UK is 885 millimetres (33.7 inches).”

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Doris Zinkeisen: frontline artist who painted the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

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A painting by war artist Doris Zinkeisen showing a huge plume of black smoke rising into a cloudy sky that depicts the burning of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

The burning of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp by Doris Clare Zinkeisen, 1945. © Doris Zinkeisen’s estate. Photo, British Red Cross Museum and Archives.

Doris Zinkeisen was the first artist to enter the infamous Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp after it was liberated on 15 April 1945.

She would have witnessed the 13,000 unburied bodies and around 60,000 inmates, most acutely sick and starving.

As an artist, she had been commissioned to record what she saw for the British public. In those years before TV cameras and 24-hour news, people relied on photographs and paintings to illustrate what war was really like.

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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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Emotional support in an emergency: top tips on how you can help

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After an emergency, a young woman provides emotional support to comfort an older man as they both sit on a sofa and hold cups of tea

© John Eccles/British Red Cross

We can all imagine how hard it must be to deal with an emergency. A flood, fire or accident can change lives in minutes.

But do we think enough about the emotional impact?

It doesn’t just affect those who are hurt, see the emergency, or face damage to their homes or businesses.

The ripples can spread to relatives, neighbours and even entire communities, and last for months or years afterwards.

New British Red Cross research shows that emotional support for people affected by a crisis is crucial. It can feel as important as helping with essentials like food, clothes and a place to stay.

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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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Giant cauliflower harvest: hard work and hard cash pay off in Nepal

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Gyan Maharajan stands next to her cauliflower harvest - the vegetable is so big that its leaves are as tall as she is

Gyan Maharajan and her huge cauliflower harvest in Nepal, @British Red Cross/Paul Wu

Getting ready to harvest your autumn fruit and vegetables?

Many of us are now busy in our garden or allotment. Others are taking the easier route and enjoying some fresh produce from the supermarket or grocer.

Either way, we can all take a moment to appreciate Gyan Maharjan’s bumper cauliflower crop.

At 3.5 kilos, one of her huge cauliflowers is around four times bigger than the average UK supermarket cauliflower!

Hoping for a harvest festival prize

Despite its massive size, 51-year-old Gyan carries her cauliflower in a basket on her back like a backpack.

She is on her way to Bungamati town for a giant vegetable competition. It’s an uncomfortable walk with the heavy weight on her back and Saturday is Nepal’s only weekend day.

Even so, the town’s central square is crowded, and large pumpkins, radishes and spinach take pride of place.

Gyan is amazed by how big her giant cauliflower has grown. Like all the others here, she’s hoping for a prize.

But just being able to grow her own crop again is a gift in itself.

Gyan was one of over a million people whose houses were destroyed in Nepal’s devastating 2015 earthquake.

Like thousands of other small farmers, Gyan lost her livelihood as well, making getting back to normal after the earthquake even harder.

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Indonesia earthquake and tsunami: the Red Cross is there to help

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This blog was updated on 2 October 2018.

Indonesia has just faced a terrifying double disaster: a powerful earthquake and then a tsunami.

A series of earthquakes rocked the province of Central Sulawesi, with the strongest being 7.7 magnitude.

Its epicentre was near the city of Dongala, home to around 300,000 people. That’s roughly the same as the number of people who live in Nottingham in the UK.

At least 1,234 people are known to have died and at least 799 people have been hurt. More than 6,000 houses have been destroyed and over 600,000 people across the province could be affected.

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