Emergencies

Aid worker describes life off the map

A woman stands in front of a painting of a red cross

© Matthew Percival/BRC

The Missing Maps project is urging volunteers to go online and help map some of the world’s most vulnerable countries. This work will make sure communities are better placed to withstand and recover from disaster.

British Red Cross logistician Megan Bassford explains why taking part could make a huge difference to people hit by crisis.

Megan’s job includes getting aid and aid workers past mudslides, military checkpoints and hundreds of other obstacles in the wake of disasters. Without people like her, vital help such as food parcels and blankets would never reach those who need it most. More

Ebola outbreak: “I’m good, don’t worry about me”

©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Sylla Fatoumata’s mobile phone vibrates every few minutes, making the table between us wobble.

Occasionally she glances at the screen and smiles. “My boys,” she tells me, shaking her head and laughing. “They contact me every day to see how I am.”

But Sylla is not a mother. The 28-year-old is the youngest of three sisters and, when the Ebola virus disease crept into Guinea’s capital Conakry, in March, she became the Red Cross focal point for safe and dignified burials in the city.

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Red Cross Ebola nurse: ‘I’m no hero, I’m just doing my job’

©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Tackling Ebola on the front line is an emotional experience, but I’m glad I’m here, writes British Red Cross nurse Marjorie Lee.

Am I a hero? Not for one minute. I’m just somebody helping somebody else. And people here in Sierra Leone, as in Guinea and Liberia, need our help.

I arrived two weeks ago. The first thing that strikes you is how incredibly friendly people are. Everyone you pass says “hello” or “how are you?”

The manager of our hotel in Freetown kept thanking me for coming. He hasn’t left the hotel compound in weeks, he’s too afraid to go out. He sends people out on errands to get him things.

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Ebola outbreak: reporting from Sierra Leone

©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Ebola leaves a lasting impression on everyone who encounters it. Here John Templeton, a freelance cameraman with Channel 4 News, recounts his recent experience of filming a series of reports featuring Red Cross teams in Sierra Leone (scroll down to watch the reports).   

Working as a freelance television cameraman means a phone call from a client can quickly lead to getting off a plane somewhere most people would do their utmost to avoid.

Wars, natural disasters and civil disturbances have their own rules of behaviour you must follow if you’re going to do your job well and leave unscathed. It’s usually expensive and difficult to cover such stories, so you had better do justice to the story.

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Finding and monitoring Ebola infections – video

In this video, a Liberian Red Cross volunteer talks about her work in monitoring relatives and neighbours of Ebola victims.

On average, one person infected with Ebola infects two other people. The disease is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of an infected person, or indirectly through contact with contaminated areas, such as soiled clothing or bed linen.

It’s vital to trace the movements of those infected with Ebola to find people who may have contracted the disease from them.

The next step is to monitor people who might have Ebola over a period of 21 days – the disease’s incubation period – to see if anyone develops symptoms.

Across Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the Red Cross has traced more than 50,000 people at risk of contracting the disease.

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Ebola outbreak: victims are more than just a statistic

©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Francesca Ginnett has just returned from Sierra Leone where she was tasked with making sure essential supplies reached health workers and volunteers fighting Ebola. This is her take on the last month.

So, how was it?

This is the question I keep getting asked. A simple ‘interesting’ or ‘tough’ won’t suffice, but I don’t know how to summarise the last month in a few words.

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