Category: Emergencies

‘I survived the 7/7 bombings’

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Jacqui-Puttnam-pro-pic-BLOG

Stefan Rousseau/PA

After Jacqui Putnam was caught up in the London Bombings, we helped her deal with the harrowing experience. She became a first aid volunteer with us and has saved many lives. This is her story.

1. THE EXPLOSION

I was in the front carriage on the Edgware Road train when the explosion happened. The bomb was in the next carriage along.

A lot of things happened in a split second. There was a loud bang – a high-pitched crack – and a flash of light, which illuminated hundreds of tiny shards of glass in the air.

The force of the blast travelled forward along the train. I felt immense pressure on my left shoulder which pushed me violently forward in my seat. More

Spike in Sierra Leone Ebola cases “very worrying”

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©IFRC/JariLindholm

©IFRC/JariLindholm

A spike in Ebola cases in Kono district, Sierra Leone, has served as a warning that the outbreak is far from under control. Nearly 90 bodies have been found in the district in recent weeks.

The Red Cross had already begun building an Ebola treatment centre in Kono. It will become the Red Cross’ second treatment centre in Sierra Leone, alongside the 60-bed centre in Kenema.

Norwegian Erik Lundblad, deputy team leader at the new Ebola treatment centre in Kono, explains how the Red Cross is responding to the spike in cases.

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Treating the sick and wounded in South Sudan

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©ICRC/CamilleLepage

©ICRC/CamilleLepage

Dr Frank Ryding never complains anymore. In a career that has spanned the best part of 35 years, he has travelled the world following conflicts and natural disasters with the Red Cross.

He is accustomed to working in trying, dangerous and desperate situations. He knows what it is to be on the edge of life.

The 65-year-old has just returned from four weeks working as an anaesthetist in South Sudan with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and yet another insight into a bloody conflict.

Donate to the South Sudan Crisis Appeal

“Life is so bad out there, you just survive. People are living from one day to the next,” said Frank, who has completed 14 missions with the Red Cross.

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Volunteers help Mark to beat the floods

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Flood-Mark-Carpenter-SomersWith the waters rising in Somerset, things were getting tough for Mark Carpenter and his elderly father – until the Red Cross came splashing along.

When you’re cut off by floodwater, there’s a certain irony to living in a cottage next to a pumping station.

But that’s life at the moment for Mark Carpenter and his 84-year-old father, William, who live together along the flooded plains in Somerset.

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10 things you didn’t know about the Red Cross

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1. During the Second World War, as well as sending food parcels, we sent artificial limbs to wing commander Douglas Bader in a parcel while he was a prisoner of war. We also sent more than 14,000 musical instruments to POWs, resulting in orchestras at 100 camps. Books were also provided for recreational and study purposes.

2. Our Pakistan Floods Appeal reached 2.5 million people on Twitter.

3. We have one web-footed volunteer – a dog called Loki. The Newfoundland is a member of the water rescue team in Northern Scotland and prized for his life-saving prowess in water, in case of  floods.

4. Agatha Christie was a voluntary aid detachment for the Red Cross during the First World War  and Second World War.

5. As well as donations to our emergency appeals, we receive some more unusual things in the post from the public, such as a prosthetic leg… and tea bags.

6. Our fourth most profitable charity shop – taking nearly £100,000 profit already this year – is situated in a sunken car park, off the beaten track, in Banchory, Scotland.

7. Percy Lane Oliver, a British Red Cross volunteer, set up the UK’s first blood collection service in 1921. The Red Cross supported the NHS with blood transfusion until 1987.

8. Rudyard Kipling helped with our war library, which supplied free books and magazines to sick and wounded soldiers and sailors in the UK and abroad during the First World War.

9. The Red Cross worked with the Department of health to produce dressings made of moss throughout the Second World War. There was substantial demand from hospitals which led to a huge saving in the use of cotton wool. The dressings were made by Red Cross work parties throughout Scotland. By June 1945, there were sufficient stocks. During the war 83,616 dressings were dispatched from Ayrshire, 35,475 from the Glasgow regional centre, and 35 sacks and 2037 dressings from Lanarkshire.

10. It may only be October, but our Christmas cards are already available online.