A mapping revolution that is saving lives


How can you improve women’s health in Guinea? Or help people in Haiti who have lost everything after Hurricane Matthew?

You could give to an emergency appeal to fund our life-saving work. But if you’re after something with a bit more direct involvement, then taking part in a mapathon could be the answer.

Missing Maps is a volunteer-led project that sees people from across the world create maps that could help people survive and recover from crisis. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection. More

Cholera Q&A – The deadly disease explained


Millions of people across the world contract cholera every year. Estimates suggest that more than 100,000 lives are lost every year to the disease.

The destruction and flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti has led to fears that there could be a deadly surge in cases.

In this blog, British Red Cross health adviser Greg Rose explains the threat posed by this potentially life-threatening disease.


Grants, ducks and cyclones: seven lessons from Bangladesh

A man standing in a doorway holding a duck in each hand

What would you do if cyclones flooded the farmland you depend on every year?

Imagine living in an area that floods nearly every year.

For two to three months, you earn can no money and have to leave your home because it is surrounded by several feet of water.

Your house and farm animals can even get swept out to sea.

Despite working hard and saving between the cyclones, your family gets caught in this cycle year after year.

In 2013, the Red Cross, with our partner the Bangladesh Red Crescent, started supporting people in coastal villages in a new way.


How the Red Cross and a typewriter turned things around for Jean

Jean holding up some of the stories she has typed on her typewriter.

You know that old saying, ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’? Well for 91-year-old Jean, that straw was a typewriter.

When Jean returned to her home in the Yorkshire Dales after a spell in hospital, she felt low and isolated.

So when her beloved typewriter broke too, an already difficult situation became a personal crisis.

“Everything seemed to go wrong for me,” Jean said.

Fortunately, our dedicated volunteers are skilled in all sorts of things – even fixing typewriters it seems.


The power of a gran in Afghanistan

Three women wearing Afghan Red Crescent pinneys and holding drawings of a mother and child sit on the floor in a row

If you were a granny in Afghanistan, you would be one of the most influential and respected members of your community.

“Afghan grandmothers are valued authority figures,” said Justin Dell, Afghanistan country manager at the British Red Cross.

“Many younger women in rural communities have to do what others tell them to do, particularly their fathers or husbands.

“But everyone will listen to grandmothers and follow their advice.

“This includes men, many of whom are the women’s own husbands, sons or sons-in-law.”


Diabetes in a war zone: how the Red Cross helps in Yemen

Close-up of Ayman, a boy with diabetes in Yemen


What happens when you have diabetes and your country falls apart?

When your home is bombed, 600 hospitals and medical centres close and there is no clean water?

Living like this would be hard for anyone, but if your diabetes means you need insulin every day, it is catastrophic.

This is the situation in Yemen, where estimates say that 900,000 people have diabetes and most depend on insulin.

Yet a conflict that has been raging for 18 months has restricted entry of all medicine into Yemen.

You can find out more about the Yemen crisis on Friday 30 September at 7:30pm on Channel 4’s Unreported World programme.


Students: Are you sure that’s freshers’ flu and not meningitis?

A group of students are sat in a communal area of their accommodation. One of them is showing signs of meningitis.

The new academic term is a time for meeting fresh faces, getting to grips with new timetables… and freshers’ flu. But are you sure that’s what your flu-like symptoms are?

Students sometimes miss the signs of a much more serious illness known as meningitis because its symptoms are similar to that of freshers’ flu – the collective coughs, fevers and viruses caught during your first few weeks at university.

Meningitis is rare – but can be life threatening. Students are at more risk of it because they often live in close proximity to one another.

So if you’re heading to university this month, make sure you know the signs.


The health and social care crisis: Joyce’s story

Joyce Hall with a Red Cross volunteer who helped her regain her independence after she broke her arm Joyce waited an agonising two days before going to hospital with a badly broken arm. She couldn’t just go to the hospital – she had her younger brother to think about.

As the sole carer for Lenny, who has epilepsy and learning difficulties, she was worried about leaving him alone. He was unable to do everyday tasks like getting dressed and feeding himself.

But after two days of pain she had little choice.

The British Red Cross met Joyce for the first time when she was discharged from the hospital and referred to our support at home service.

We were able to help her not just through her recovery, but find more support for her and Lenny from other services in the long-term too.

But with six consecutive years of budget cuts and an increasing demand on health and social care services, the system in England has become unsustainable. The care people like Joyce and Lenny need, is at risk.