Category: Emergencies

Child safety, Afghan style

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Three girls play as they pump water from a well

In the UK, keeping children safe means babyproofing your home or teaching youngsters to look both ways before crossing the road.

In Afghanistan, it could mean stopping children dying from diseases picked up from human waste.

More than just a nuisance

For most people in Britain, diarrhoea is a nuisance that can be easily treated. If a child is very badly affected, care is always available.

But in some countries, diarrhoea is life threatening.

Nearly 1.3 million children under five die from diarrhoea worldwide, making it the second most common cause of child deaths.

In fact, over half of these deaths occur in just five countries. Afghanistan is one of them.

What makes this even sadder is that children’s lives could be saved if communities had clean water, toilets and hand-washing facilities.

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Happy birthday Nishan: one family’s story of courage and strength in Nepal

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Dolma holds Nishan next to a neighbour carrying hay on her head

Little Nishan is nearly ready to walk. “Then our lives will become even more hectic,” his mother Dolma says, with a smile.

Laughing together, Dolma and Nishan seem like any happy mother and baby. But standing with Dolma in the ruins of the family home, Nishan can’t know the danger he has been in during his short life.

This time last year, Dolma was only ten days away from giving birth.

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From garden to plate in Nepal

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Kanchhi Laamichhane holds a bowl of corn kernals in front of her home

Who doesn’t like the idea of growing fresh and nourishing vegetables, then cooking a delicious dinner?

But this takes on a new meaning in Nepal, which only last year was struck by two enormous earthquakes.

Thousands of people died and many others lost their food, crops, farm equipment and homes.

Since then, the Red Cross has given 3,000 farming families grants to replace the seeds and tools they need.

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Volunteering in Syria, for worse and for better

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Children and SARC volunteers sit in a circle and play with Lego in Homs, Syria

A children’s centre in  Syria – © Syrian Arab Red Crescent

Excited young faces look round a stack of brightly coloured Lego. Who can build the tallest tower? Whose will be the most colourful?

You can see similar scenes anywhere in the world, but these children are in Homs, a key battleground in the Syrian conflict.

Playing with toys like Lego and talking to the children is just one of the ways the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) – a partner to the British Red Cross – gives emotional and psychological support to children living through the war.

It brings some fun and a brief respite to children who have already seen more than most.

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Helping refugees in Europe: your questions answered

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Red Cross volunteer distributes relief items to migrants

(C) IFRC

Find out how you can help desperate refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants who have been forced to flee their homes.

What is the British Red Cross doing?

The British Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal for refugees across Europe.

We’re supporting our partner Red Cross national societies in Italy and Greece. Volunteers and staff there are helping refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants arriving on their shores. More

‘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