Category: International

Doris Zinkeisen: frontline artist who painted the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

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A painting by war artist Doris Zinkeisen showing a huge plume of black smoke rising into a cloudy sky that depicts the burning of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

The burning of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp by Doris Clare Zinkeisen, 1945. © Doris Zinkeisen’s estate. Photo, British Red Cross Museum and Archives.

Doris Zinkeisen was the first artist to enter the infamous Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp after it was liberated on 15 April 1945.

She would have witnessed the 13,000 unburied bodies and around 60,000 inmates, most acutely sick and starving.

As an artist, she had been commissioned to record what she saw for the British public. In those years before TV cameras and 24-hour news, people relied on photographs and paintings to illustrate what war was really like.

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From Corby to Mozambique: behind the scenes at the Red Cross after Cyclone Idai

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What images does the news of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique conjure up for you?

Charity emergency teams giving out supplies to people who fled their homes? Aid workers with food for hungry children?

All of this does happen. But for every emergency worker on the ground, many more work behind the scenes.

Their role is vital in making sure all the emergency supplies and equipment get to the right place at the right time.

As a logistics officer based in the UK, Gemma Blakey’s job is crucial to relief operations.

A self-confessed spreadsheet lover, she uses her meticulous planning and organisational skills to spring into action.

“I immediately check our stock and start talking to colleagues about who is available to respond, and what information we are getting about the needs on the ground,” she said.

“Then we can decide how the British Red Cross can best support the people in crisis.”

Gemma was already getting ready to help just a day after Cyclone Idai hit southern Africa.

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Cyclone Idai: meet the Red Cross volunteers saving lives and fighting cholera in Mozambique

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In Mozambique, a woman and two young children sit on a blanket on the floor in an evacuation centre after Cyclone Idai

Amelia and her children were rescued from floods by a Red Cross volunteer

Life changed for everyone in Beira, Mozambique, after Cyclone Idai tore through the city. The resulting floods and destruction is worse than anyone can remember.

Latest reports say that the cyclone affected 1.85 million people – the number living in Birmingham and Liverpool combined.

Thousands of people lost their homes and Red Cross volunteers were no exception.

But despite their personal tragedies, volunteers started to help immediately.

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Crisis in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe: Red Cross providing urgent aid after Cyclone Idai

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In Beira, Mozambique, people carry suitcases and bags on their head while walking through flood waters caused by Cyclone Idai

© IFRC

This blog was updated on 26 March 2019.

No food, no power, no clean water and no way in or out.

This is life in Beira, Mozambique, a few days after Cyclone Idai tore through this city of half a million people.

So far, we know that 417 people have died in Mozambique and this is expected to rise significantly. Over 1,000 have been injured. In the three countries, the death toll is expected to go up.

Latest figures say that 18,000 people have had to flee their homes. Over 6,000 houses and 18 hospitals have been destroyed. Overall, a staggering 1,850,000 people have been affected in Mozambique alone.

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From Kent to Zimbabwe: JB Gill on helping farmers deal with climate change

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JB Gill sits on the ground in Zimbabwe surrounded by children

JB Gill with children from Mwenezi, Zimbabwe ©BritishRedCross/Jordi Matas

Former JLS band member turned farmer and TV presenter JB Gill writes about his visit to Zimbabwe with the British Red Cross.

Last month, I was gripping the wooden handles of a traditional farm plough in a dry, dusty field, struggling to control the restless cattle pulling it along.

But this was not an item for Down on the Farm, the CBeebies show which I present to teach children about the skills and work that go into farming.

I was in Zimbabwe to see first-hand how extreme weather, drought and climate change have made life hard for farmers there.

But I also saw how a Red Cross project, with support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, is empowering people to change their lives.

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How I became homeless and hungry: Tallabah’s story from Yemen

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Tallabah, a woman who had to flee her home in Yemen, stares straight ahead

Tallabah in Yemen © Azzam al-Zubairi

Two years ago, Tallabah and her family lived in their own house.

Now, they camp in a tent pitched in a graveyard.

To feed them, she must beg for food.

Tallabah is one of a staggering 20 million people in Yemen who don’t have enough to eat.

We’re sharing her story to put a face to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

We hope it will help us all understand why Yemen’s people desperately need our help.

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After the storm: how the Red Cross is helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon

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Red Cross workers carry someone on a stretcher through the snow in Lebanon

Winter, Aarsal in Lebanon © Lebanese Red Cross

I have just come back from Lebanon and have seen first-hand how Syrian refugees there are struggling.

More than a million Syrians refugees now live in Lebanon. You may have seen in the news that harsh winter weather has hit them hard.

Vulnerable families are picking up the pieces after a storm drenched the tents in which many Syrians now live. Heavy snow and floodwaters and have damaged hundreds of makeshift camps.

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Hundreds killed in Indonesia tsunami: Red Cross helps immediately

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Red Cross ambulance teams help a woman on a stretcher after the Indonesia tsunami

For the second time in three months, a deadly tsunami has hit Indonesia.

After dark on 22 December, a tsunami wave ploughed into the Indonesian island of Java.

At least 222 people have been killed. More than 840 are injured and 28 are missing. Sadly, these numbers are expected to rise.

Banten on Java was one of the worst affected areas and its seaside district of Pandeglang was crowded with holiday tourists when the tsunami hit.

Over 550 houses, 350 boats and nine hotels were badly damaged.

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