International

Disease, war or drowning – could you choose between them?

A queue of men stood by a ship

© Damian Fulton Naylor/IFRC

What would persuade you to board a creaking, overcrowded boat for a voyage you know might kill you?

Make you hand over thousands of dollars to gangsters and middle-men for the privilege? Convince you take such a terrible risk?

More than a thousand migrants have died crossing from Africa to Europe in the last few weeks. The Red Cross has been on the front line helping survivors.

More people will attempt the crossing today. Some may have set off in the last few hours, fearing their flimsy boat could sink in the time it takes you to read this story.

Survivors have described the harrowing scenes when boats do capsize. Doaa, a Syrian teenager, told Channel 4 News: “People died in front of me. I started to move the corpses with my hands just to reach the living.” More

13 things you didn’t know about the world’s newest nation

South SudanIn South Sudan, where conflict is having a devastating effect, you can still find natural wonders, wrestling fanatics and a rich culture. Take a journey round this vast new country…

1. South Sudan is home to the Sudd, one of the world’s largest wetlands. During the rainy season, it can cover an area of more than 130,000 square km (50,200 square miles) – roughly the size of England.

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Violence pushes Yemen’s water supply closer to the brink

A concrete tower in the desert

© ICRC

As fighting rages in Yemen, water networks have been disrupted by long and frequent power cuts – bringing more misery for the country’s people.

Damaged pumps and pipes make people turn to dirty, disease-carrying water, or leave them without anything to drink at all.

This would be a terrifying prospect in any country. But Yemen has been on the brink of a water crisis for years – if the supply dries up further, the results could be catastrophic.

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The boy with Ebola who called me mother

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Samba, picture middle, was the only Ebola patient at the treatment centre

Oxfordshire nurse Barbara Nichols met Samba while working at the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kono, Sierra Leone. Samba was the only Ebola patient at the centre. In this blog, Barbara shares her story… 

Samba lost his father and a sister to Ebola. His mother died of a heart attack soon after their deaths – the grief was too much to bear, Samba told me.

I met Samba on my first day at the Ebola treatment centre (ETC) in mid-February. He was admitted with Ebola symptoms and was later confirmed to have the deadly disease.

Aged 23, he was the same age as my son, which is perhaps why I took such an interest in his welfare.

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Gallery: Life-saving aid hits the ground in Yemen

A plane on the tarmac

© ICRC

As fighting rages in Yemen, two Red Cross aeroplanes have arrived with vital aid – including urgently needed medical supplies.

See what happened when these planes touched down.

The Red Cross is one of only a few aid agencies working inside Yemen.

You can fund more vital help by donating to our Yemen Crisis Appeal. More

Evacuated from Sierra Leone and the boy I can’t forget

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A Red Cross nurse in Sierra Leone – ©IFRC/TommyTrenchard

Dr. Sophie Reshamwalla’s time in Sierra Leone was cut short. The Red Cross doctor was evacuated from our treatment centre as a precautionary measure earlier this year. In this blog, Sophie talks about the journey home and the boy she cannot forget.

I can’t stop thinking about Musa. The last time I saw him, he was inside the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kono, doing a strange locomotion dance while singing a song about coconuts.

He has been on my mind ever since I was hastily evacuated from Sierra Leone.

Musa, aged 10, arrived at the treatment centre frightened and alone. When I first met him in the assessment area, he was trembling and burst into tears. Who could blame him?

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Crisis in Yemen: Your questions answered

Where’s Yemen? Who lives there?

A map showing Yemen and the Middle East

©BRC

Yemen is in the Middle East, directly below Saudi Arabia and about 500 miles from Dubai.

It’s twice the size of the UK and home to about 26 million people, more than double the population of Scotland and Wales combined. It’s one of the poorest countries in the Middle East.

What’s the crisis about?

Yemen has been affected by armed conflict for decades. This has made it harder for people there to earn money, go to school or even get everyday essentials such as food, water and healthcare.

But in the last few months the fighting, which involves a wide range of different armed groups, has become much worse in most of the country’s provinces. More

From terror to treatment: Three TB stories

A man standing outside

Andrey Yushko

When someone in Turkmenistan learns they have tuberculosis (TB), the questions they need answered come thick and fast. What is this illness? Will it kill me? Can I get treated for it? How will it affect my family? Will I lose my job, or even my home?

TB can kill. But the disease is curable, although treatment in Turkmenistan is a long and difficult process. And poverty and stigma can make recovery even more difficult.

That’s why, for more than a decade, the British Red Cross has worked with our partner – the Turkmenistan Red Crescent – to support thousands of people through months of treatment and recovery. More