Category: Resilience

Building resilience: Why preparing for crisis is common sense

© Matt Percival/BRC

© Matt Percival/BRC

What links earthquakes in Nepal with HIV in Lesotho, and cholera outbreaks in Sierra Leone with the health problems affecting mothers in Myanmar? The effects of all these crises can be reduced by making people and communities more resilient.

Resilience is the ability to prevent, withstand and recover from disasters and emergencies. The British Red Cross is building resilience across the world and in the UK. We’re highlighting that work by putting the spotlight on four very different programmes helping some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Each one is run in partnership with that country’s Red Cross or Red Crescent National Society.

Why does resilience matter?

We think building resilience is just common sense. We shouldn’t just sit around and wait for floods, fires or outbreaks of disease – by taking action beforehand, we can make sure the impact of risks and crises is drastically reduced. This idea has been guiding our work for decades, and we think it’s more important than ever.

Even simple steps can save lives and livelihoods, protect homes and put people on the path to a better future. Giving people the power to prevent and prepare is a great investment too. A little time and money spent now will often prevent the need to give much more when a crisis happens. More

Every crisis is personal


At the British Red Cross we believe that every crisis is personal.

A crisis can be a catastrophic event like the recent typhoon in the Philippines, which destroyed livelihoods and buildings.

Or it can be much smaller – like a woman stranded at home because she doesn’t have the confidence to get out and about after an illness.

A crisis can happen to anyone at any time. It doesn’t matter to us how big a crisis is or how many people it affects. What matters is that someone needs our help. More

Flooding: what’s it actually like to lose everything?


Flood-Wood-famillyBLOGWe’ve all become accustomed to flood stories on the news – but one family’s heartbreaking story vividly demonstrates the human cost behind the headlines.

The coastal community of Walcott in Norfolk wasn’t just hit by last week’s floods: it was knocked for six.

The tidal surge brought crashing waves that devastated a caravan and chalet park situated on the seafront. It smashed down house walls, ripping out fences and tossing caravans about like toys.

For the Woods family, who live right on the seafront, things couldn’t have gone more badly. Their static home was completely destroyed – literally torn apart – by the rising water, and all their ruined belongings scattered throughout a nearby field.


In case of emergency: tweet


Tweet-siren-BLOGDuring major crises, it’s really important to get information fast – and now you can sign up to get Twitter emergency alerts from the British Red Cross.

You probably remember the recent Capitol Hill shooting in Washington, when a woman in a runaway car sparked off a high-speed chase and gun-fire.

What you probably don’t know is that, as the incident unfurled, Senate security staff sent an emergency tweet to hundreds of people working in the area, warning them to find shelter. More

Cuddling: the secret weapon against winter


Winter (600-337)_1As winter approaches, we asked 2,000 people how they plan to cope with extreme weather conditions. Here are some of their more illuminating ideas, plus some handy advice from us:

1. Get hot under the covers
A significant minority – 12 per cent – are planning to eschew the traditional ‘wear more layers’ or ‘turn up the heating’ routes, and will fight the freeze on a more intimate front.

One person’s bracing solution to combating the cold (‘Stay in bed and have more sex’) summed up a popular theme. Worryingly, another chap’s suggestion on how he’d keep warm (‘WIFE’) makes his poor spouse sound like a human duvet.


The long road to recovery in Haiti


© Adrian Thomas/BRC

Repairing or replacing hundreds of homes damaged by the Haiti earthquake is a major part of the British Red Cross’ £23 million response to the disaster. But more than three years after the earthquake, this rebuilding work is far from finished. What does it take to get a community back on its feet – and why can the process take years?

The 2010 disaster killed thousands of people and threw Haiti into chaos. It left some homes badly damaged, some barely standing and some nothing more than piles of rubble. Many have been partly repaired by the community since the disaster, but some are still far from safe.

The Red Cross is working in the Delmas 19 area of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, a neighbourhood that suffered huge damage. The organisation has already completed big, life-changing projects including a new market and canal, but there’s lots more to do. More

Maternity in Myanmar: ‘I worried that we could die’

Baby Ma Thawda with a female villager

©BRC/ Xanthe Swift

This is a guest blog from Xanthe Swift, our agency regular giving manager, who recently visited Myanmar.

After an hour in the car, we arrive at the dirt road we are to travel by bullock and cart. At first, the oxen shy away from us – we’re told it’s because we have a strange smell – but they calm down once we’ve clambered into the straw-covered cart.

The farmer is skillful in his handling of the animals. Making short, crisp ‘clock’ noises with his tongue and touching the oxen lightly with a switch, he navigates the heavy and unruly cart along a muddy and pitted track.