Category: Emergencies

Disaster Strikes: 'Who ya gonna call?!'


haitiA natural disaster strikes somewhere in the world, pictures of devastation and stricken people scroll across our news screens. It’s a natural instinct to want to help but you probably won’t call Ghostbusters! You probably will though call the Red Cross, and in some form and in some way we will be involved in providing assistance. Sounds simple doesn’t it? In fairness sometimes it is but more often than not it is anything but simple.

This post forms the first step on a journey as I seek to unravel some of the complexities and mysteries of disaster response for you. I’m the disaster relief manager for the British Red Cross and it is my job to coordinate our response to major international disasters, whether it’s flooding in Namibia, a hurricane in the Caribbean or people displaced in PakistanMore

Guest blogging from St. Vincent Youth Camp – Part 1


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Did you know that the British Red Cross has several overseas branches in the Caribbean? As part of the work going on there, the Red Cross is hosting a youth camp for young Red Cross workers in the Caribbean to have an opportunity to interact. The whole idea is to create international friendships, learn from eachother, and work together for the greater good.

Below, are some blog posts sent to me by one of the participants– Jiva Niles of the Anguilla Red Cross. I know this post is quite long, but I hope that it is the most user-friendly way to share his story with you:


Training for a Disaster – Monday


Practice makes perfect as the saying goes and that is applicable when it comes to disaster response. So with that in mind, I’m writing this from the ‘comfort’ of my tent by torch light in a field in near Bristol. As one of the facilitators, I arrived last night in the lashing rain and the dark dressed in wellies and a waterproofs not relishing the thought of having to put up the tent that would be my home for the coming week. I can’t quite put into words the sheer happiness and elation I felt when I peered into the misty darkness and could just make out the faint outline of my tent. JC our warehouse manager had taken pity on us and had put up a tent for each of us! More

Monday Movement update #16


Man carrying bags and boxes of relief suppliesHere’s your weekly update on what different members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement* are doing.

Mongolia floods diary: A Red Cross worker in Mongolia is keeping a diary after severe flooding killed at least 24 people.

Pakistan: The Pakistan Red Crescent and the Federation are distributing relief to families who fled fighting in North-West Frontier Province, like 23-year-old Akhtar Ali (pictured), who said: “We did not even find the time to take an extra clothes with us and families have been sharing essential items with us. Now we have things of our own thanks to the Pakistan Red Crescent who have helped us out in these difficult times.”


Monday Movement update #15


Here’s your weekly update on what different members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement* are doing.

A man leans over a small crying babyIndonesia bombs: The Indonesia Red Cross sent seven ambulances and 42 volunteers to help survivors of Friday’s bomb attacks. Leave a message of support on our blog.

Gaza photo gallery: Six months after Israel ended its three-week military operation in Gaza, residents are still suffering. See photos of people like baby Yehia (pictured), one of many children who is being treated for anemia.


Be a weekend hero


How do you like to spend your weekends? For me, the ideal weekend involves indulging my natural laziness and love of sleeping 12 hours in a row.

This weekend, however, I’m on call for our web team. That means, if our volunteers respond to something big while our offices are closed, I get a call and write a story about it for our website.

While most people in the country were out celebrating the fact that last night was Friday night, residents in Morpeth were checking the weather forecast and worrying that rain would, again, devastate their homes.


Stilettos and social exclusion in Georgia


So as a seasoned traveller slash humanitarian worker I thought I was well prepared for my recent trip to Georgia, my jabs were all up-to-date and I’d even packed a special tick remover as advised in my pre-trip medical. I’d also been told to tuck my trousers into my socks when walking through fields to avoid those pesky ticks and so I set off for Georgia armed with my sensible clothes – though when I got there I soon realised I wasn’t as well prepared as I thought.

Tower block

After flying into Tbilisi, we went west to Kutaisi, the second biggest city in Georgia. I was there to make a film about a Red Cross project that is seriously changing the lives of ‘socially excluded’ older people and I was working with Ash Sweeting, the same cameraman I worked with when making films in Sierra Leone.

I didn’t expect to see the blatant poverty of Africa and it’s true that on the surface – especially in Tbilisi with its grand monuments, fountains and expensive shops – life looks pretty good. But actually as you’ll see in the film there’s a whole other story. More