Category: News

Fact check: asylum seekers

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© British Red Cross

© British Red Cross

Recent media stories have attacked the government for putting asylum seekers in hotels while they wait for a decision about their claim. The articles claim that too much money is being spent on temporary accommodation.

Several articles have implied the UK is being flooded with asylum seekers. In fact, the country hosts less than one per cent of the world’s refugees.

We want to set the record straight. More

Ebola: the data behind the disease

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Ebola-nurse-blog-IIIThe Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 2,400 lives across West Africa since it began in March.

One particularly striking fact is that nearly half (47 per cent) of the 4,963 cases across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, have come in the three weeks before 13 September, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It’s a clear sign that the outbreak is getting worse. Aid agencies, including the Red Cross, are stretched to the limit and desperately need more support.

In this blog, we take a look at the data behind the disease to see how Ebola has hit countries in West Africa.*

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Ebola outbreak: ‘If we don’t help, who will?’

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Ebola-nurse-blogIf I am honest, I have stopped looking at the tallies of the dead. Numbers don’t show you what Ebola is really doing to these communities.

But I see the fear and misinformation it spreads. The orphans it leaves in its wake. The 120 health workers who have died while trying to help patients, in countries that already have some of the lowest doctor-patient ratios in the world.

When I first arrived in Sierra Leone six weeks ago, I travelled with the local Red Cross to the infection ‘hot zone’ near the Guinea and Liberia borders.

The volunteers were tired but motivated. Someone asked them: “Why volunteer to manage dead bodies?” A volunteer quickly answered: “If we don’t do it, who will?”

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Fifth country hit by Ebola outbreak

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EBOLAFive months after the Ebola outbreak began in south-east Guinea, the virulent disease has now spread to five West-African nations.

Despite closing its borders with neighbouring Guinea, Senegal confirmed its first case last week.

Time is of the essence to save lives, but the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has only 62 per cent of the necessary funds in place to fight the epidemic.

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West Africa Ebola outbreak – preserving life after death  

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IMG_2345Ebola has no sympathy. In life, it causes untold suffering; in death, it robs you of your dignity.

Where normally the deceased in West Africa could expect a traditional burial, Ebola has denied them that privilege.

Those who have succumbed to Ebola, remain infectious. Instead of a funeral attended by friends and family, theirs is now a discreet burial carried out by men in white overalls wearing masks. They’re buried in body bags, not one, but two.

It’s a morbid task, one that is being carried out by teams of Red Cross workers.

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The search to reunite families separated by conflict in South Sudan

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South-Sudan-RFL-2

You’re at home when you hear the cackle of gunfire followed by shouts and screams.

You run out of your house, grabbing what few possessions you can. Along with your siblings and your father, you flee into the bush.

But you have to leave your grandmother behind; she’s too frail to travel. And your mother? She was at market. When she gets home, all that remains is the charred remnants of what used to be her home.

What do you do? You’re too frightened to go back to your village. So you stay in the bush, searching for food to survive.

Eventually, after weeks without shelter, you arrive at a camp for people displaced by fighting.

You’re given food and shelter, but all you want to know is what’s happened to your mum and grandmother. You hear that the Red Cross could help.

Donate to the South Sudan Crisis Appeal

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What is it like to have Ebola and survive?

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©IFRC/IdrissaSoumare

©IFRC/IdrissaSoumare

“Now they call me anti-Ebola,” said Saa Sabas. He is a lucky man, and he knows it. The father-of-two, from Guinea, is one of a handful of people to survive Ebola. 

It is an especially virulent disease. The current outbreak continues to spread in West Africa and has so-far claimed more than 500 lives, according to the World Health Organisation. 

The outbreak began in Guinea, in March, and has since spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. A lack of knowledge and understanding about the disease meant that it spread quickly, particularly among health workers and those caring for the sick. This is exactly how Saa became infected.  

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