From the deck of our rescue boat – naming a baby

Jamal Agboola-Muideen

“My youngest baby is three months old. I’ve never seen him. But I gave him my name because maybe I won’t survive,” says Jamal Agboola-Muideen, 39.

“Going from Nigeria to Europe isn’t easy, through the land and through the sea. We lost a lot of people from the boat. I could have been among them.”

Jamal Agboola-Muideen is the breadwinner for his extended family and says he was forced to flee after his parents died when he received death threats from relatives wanting their land.


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.


From the deck of our rescue boat: a panic attack

man suffers panic attack on board the Responder

As the Responder search and rescue ship docks in Augusta, Sicily, a young man collapses, shaking.

Brunella Pirozzi, the doctor in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies team checks him. It’s a panic attack. The team leads him to a seat and stays with him until he calms down a little. Bit by bit, the 22-year-old unclenches his fists and begins counting on his fingers.

“My two brothers. My mother. Killed in front of my eyes. Then they came for my sister.”

He pulls the neck of his shirt down to show a red scar.

“They stabbed me when I tried to stop them from taking her. I played dead so they didn’t kill me too.”

After fleeing for his life, the young man pays traffickers in Libya for a place on a boat to Europe. Just outside Libyan coastal waters, his boat is intercepted by the joint Red Cross and MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) operation.


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.


Homeless and hungry – life after Hurricane Matthew in Haiti


Elmita Nodeis sits on the ground in the school courtyard with a few buckets in front of her.

The school, in the southern Haitian town of Les Cayes, is being used as an evacuation centre in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. It has become home for Elmita and her family.

“My home has been destroyed and I haven’t eaten since yesterday, so I started washing people’s clothes for a bit of money,” said Elmita. More

Seeds of change – making the most of El Niño in Kenya

kenya-kitui-2Few kind words have been written about El Niño – that dreaded bearer of floods and droughts. Yet a bit of planning and investment has seen communities in Kenya benefit from the weather phenomenon, as Sarah Barr from our international team explains.

The semi-arid landscape of Kitui County hides no secrets. Droughts in the dry season, floods during the rainy season, it’s little wonder that farmers face such difficulty growing crops in a climate that fluctuates so wildly.

Most people here do some form of agriculture, whether it’s simply growing enough food to feed their families, or to sell at market for a modest income.

Changes in weather patterns can lead to food shortages, impacting people’s livelihoods and health, so we were following El Niño very closely.


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.”