Category: Emergencies

Widowed, homeless and hungry – the desperate plight of people fleeing Myanmar

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©IFRC/AJGhani

Rajuma Khatun fled Myanmar with her two children – ©IFRC/AJGhani

At the age of 25, Rajuma Khatun is a mother, a widow, and without a home. She is also exhausted.

The mother-of-two has barely eaten or slept since arriving in Bangladesh, having fled the violence in Myanmar.

It took her family seven days to travel from their home in Rakhine State to the relative safety of a settlement in Thangkhali, near the border.

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“Unbearable conditions” facing families fleeing Myanmar violence

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A woman from Myanmar holds a baby and looks back as people around her walk uphill on a muddy path

© AJ Ghani/Bangladesh Red Crescent

In the pouring monsoon rain, a family trudges through the mud on a journey that could be the difference between life and death.

This is the border between Myanmar, also known as Burma, and Bangladesh.

In recent weeks, thousands of people have fled their homes in Myanmar with almost no possessions and entered a country in the grip of terrible floods.

Many more remain stranded in border areas without food, water or shelter.

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“I couldn’t save anything but the children’s lives” – South Asia floods

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Mother and child stand in the rain as the South Asia floods hit India

Mother and child in India © Hanna Butler/IFRC

The worst monsoon floods in decades have claimed thousands of lives and continue to devastate communities across South Asia.

More than 41 million people across Nepal, India and Bangladesh have been affected. An area roughly the size of the UK is under water.

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Bangladesh under water: monsoon floods hit South Asia

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Shilpi collects water as she and her cows shelter on a tiny island surrounded by water in what was once a field

© Aminul Sawon

Shilpi’s cows are her life. Like many in Bangladesh, she makes a living from the land.

Each year, Shilpi and others in her village welcome the monsoon rains. They bring the fresh water they need to live on for the next year.

But in recent weeks, the monsoon rains have relentlessly pounded this part of Bangladesh.

Rainwater from the Himalayas is travelling down through Nepal’s lower lying areas, through swollen rivers in north-east India and eventually through the floodplains of Bangladesh.

Vast swaths of land across all three countries are under water.

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Little food, no water and stifling heat: families trapped in the Syrian desert

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A two-year-old girl takes a bath in a plastic basin of dirty water outside Raqqa, Syria

© ICRC/ Ingy Sedky

While hundreds of thousands of people have managed to escape the fighting in Raqqa since April, the fate of tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the Syrian city remains unknown. Ingy Sedky, from the International Committee of the Red Cross, reports from the camps outside the forlorn city.

“Take a picture,” the man said to me as he took my hand. “Show the world how we are living.”

He brought me to see his young daughter, who was having a bath in a basin full of contaminated, muddy water.

This family once had a house with running water and clean clothes. They went to work and school, and ate good meals together.

Now, this is all they have, this is how they live.

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Back to the land: how gardening saves lives in Syria

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A wooden box with a handle is filled with vegetables harvested from an allotment in the UK

An allotment harvest in the UK © iStock

If you’ve ever obsessed over plant watering techniques, cursed an army of slugs or wondered what to do with a wheelbarrow of artichokes, chances are you’re an allotment holder.

Allotments are a UK institution. Waiting lists stretch from years into decades in some places as we hanker after the magic of growing our own food.

Over the next few months allotment owners will reap the rewards of their hours of toil as runner beans, potatoes and squash are ready to harvest. More

Yemen crisis: an urgent plea for change from the Red Cross

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A young girl in Yemen stands on a steep pile of rubble holding a doll

© ICRC

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, spent this week meeting people in war-torn Yemen. He has released the following statement calling on all parties to the conflict to take steps now to alleviate the dire situation. 

I am leaving Yemen profoundly concerned for the plight of its people. The cholera outbreak remains alarming.

With the rainy season approaching, we expect more than 600,000 cases by the end of the year. This is unprecedented.

This outbreak is manmade. It is a direct consequence of more than two years of warfare. The health-care system has collapsed, with people dying from easily-treatable chronic diseases.

Key services like garbage disposal have ceased to function, as I saw all too clearly in Taiz.

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