Category: International

Seven reasons why I feel hope for Zimbabwe

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A mother in Zimbabwe carrying her child on her back stands with a Red Cross flag in the background

© Victor Lacken/IFRC

Bumping along a dirt road for five hours, I caught my first glimpse of Zimbabwe’s rural villages rising up from the dust.

The capital, Harare, seemed modern and wealthy. The contrast with the poor country villages was extreme.

Yet the mood among the rural people was upbeat.

We arrived just after the harvest and people, poor as they still were, kept offering us freshly picked fruit and vegetables.

But the drought that stalked Zimbabwe for two years could come back at any time.

Crops would die and parents might skip meals to feed their children. Disease and malnutrition could even carry some youngsters away.

Despite all of this, I am optimistic about Zimbabwe’s future.

Here’s why:

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Thirteen Newcastle girls and one good deed for Syria

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The words 'Something for Syria' are spelled out in lightbulbs on a stage with the Wylams Brewery name behind them in purple lights

Sadly, news of people forced to flee their homes in Syria is in the headlines once again.

When similar stories came out of Aleppo, a group of women in Newcastle decided to do something for Syria.

Sarah Melling, one of the women behind this response, tells their story.

What hit me most was the doctor’s despair.

He was working in Syria with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) during the siege of Aleppo. His letter on the BBC website told a harrowing story.

His team was evacuating the most vulnerable people from a former old people’s home in the besieged city.

The home had become a refugee camp in a sea of smashed concrete that used to be a thriving city.

Some of the people they found were disabled or mentally ill and some just had nowhere else to go.

As the Red Cross and their partners the Syrian Arab Red Crescent arrived to rescue them, they sat among the bodies of other patients who had already died. There was no heating, medicine or fuel.

Then some soldiers arrived with six children, one just seven months old. All had been orphaned in the past few days and left alone in the rubble with nothing to eat.

They carried the children and old people on stretchers through deserted and damaged streets, helping those they could, but passing the bodies of those for whom it was already too late.

“I feel so very sad, today,” the doctor wrote.

“Please, there have to be some limits to this war.”

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“I am proud to work here”: a doctor at a Red Cross clinic shares his story

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For many people, the first they see of Dr Mesbha Ahmed is his rainbow umbrella.

Carrying the umbrella, he walks through the sprawling camp that’s now home to almost 700,000 people who fled their homes in Myanmar last August.

In the camp’s heat and dust, diseases can spread quickly.

To help, the Red Cross and our partners the Bangladesh Red Crescent run a surgical field hospital and eight clinics. Together, they treat thousands of patients.

Then one day a week, Dr Ahmed’s mobile clinic reaches people who can’t get to the other health centres.

So when families see the doctor’s bright umbrella, they know that his clinic is ready to help.

Here, Dr Ahmed explains how the mobile clinic helps save lives.

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Why we’re climbing Mount Everest, by Ben Fogle and Victoria Pendleton

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Wearing cold weather gear, Ben Fogle stands at the top of Mount Everest with his arms outstretched

© Fisher Creative

Watch Ben and Victoria train for and attempt their Everest climb in ‘Our Everest Challenge’, a ground-breaking documentary on ITV on 30 August at 9:00 pm.

Today, Ben Fogle reached the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal after months of training.

Ben took on this huge challenge in support of the British Red Cross.

Mike Adamson, British Red Cross chief executive, said: “We are delighted, overjoyed and overwhelmed with gratitude that Ben Fogle has conquered Everest.

“All of us at the British Red Cross send Ben our heartfelt congratulations, wish him all the best and look forward to welcoming him home.

“He has managed an extraordinary feat and we are honoured to be part of his effort.”

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Cash grants after the hurricanes: food, clothes and hope for a mother and daughter

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Clair, who received a Red Cross cash grant after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, sits in a chair and smiles

Claire got a Red Cross cash grant after Hurricanes Irma and Maria damaged her mother’s home, ©British Red Cross

“My mum is 83 and has Alzheimer’s. And she’s not mobile. When the hurricane came she hid behind the fridge and we didn’t get to her until morning.”

Claire and her mum live in the beautiful British Virgin Islands.

Normally a Caribbean tourist destination, the islands were hit by three crises in 2017.

First there was major flooding in August.

Then Hurricane Irma, one of the strong hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, hit in September.

Hurricane Maria followed just 12 days later.

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Yemen: five days inside the world’s largest humanitarian crisis

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Yemen Red Crescent volunteer Majed arrives home in the evening. He hugs his children Amjad, 9, Shahd, 5 as hisYemen Red Crescent volunter Majed stands outside his home hugging son Amjad, 9, and daughter Shahd, 5

© Yahya Arhab/Yemen Red Crescent Society

A staggering 70 per cent of people in war-torn Yemen depend on humanitarian aid. Yet a blockade recently stopped the flow of emergency supplies into the country.

In this series of vlogs, Tre from the British Red Cross reflects on what life is like for Yemen’s people and what we are doing to help.

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