Category: Emergencies

Typhoon Mangkhut: the Red Cross is there to help

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A Red Cross volunteer walks pass a house destroyed by Typhoon Mangkhut

Typhoon Mangkhut caused terrible damage in the Philippines, © Philippine Red Cross

Typhoon Mangkhut, which slammed into the Philippines on Saturday, was the world’s strongest storm this year.

Its winds reached a staggering 165 miles per hour. That’s 75 miles per hour stronger than Hurricane Florence, which hit the US on the same day.

At 168 miles across, this massive storm covered an area roughly equal to the distance between London and Stoke-on-Trent.

The human impact has been equally huge.

Reports are still coming in but we already know that at least 64 people sadly lost their lives.

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What would you miss most? Rebuilding after Hurricane Irma

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If a huge hurricane blew away your home, what would you miss the most?

For Lorie, it was his treasured viola. “There’s no way I can replace my instrument, my viola,” he said. “It was just precious.”

The keen musician’s home and viola were damaged by Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever seen in the Atlantic.

The huge storm damaged or destroyed almost every house in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Rebuilding is going slowly.

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Loss, courage and strength: Rahima from Myanmar tells her story

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Rahima, who fled her home in Myanmar, stands in a camp in Bangladesh

After fleeing her home in Myanmar and terrible suffering, Rahima still finds the strength to be positive about her new role in the community. © A J Ghani/British Red Cross

I met Rahima in Bangladesh when I visited with the British Red Cross. Like hundreds of thousands of others, she had fled her home in Myanmar. Deeply moved by her story, I promised to share it with the world.

“I am only 30 but I know I look older.” Rahima said.

“It is because I have been through so much.

“Though I am so sad, it is very important to tell our terrible story to the whole world.”

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Yemen’s healthcare in crisis: a doctor speaks out

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A boy walks among the rubble from a destroyed building in Yemen

© Yeyha Arhab/ICRC

“Here our job is human. I can’t leave it, I can’t stop.”

Dr Anisa, a doctor with British Red Cross partner the Yemen Red Crescent, speaks from a battered clinic in Sana’a, Yemen.

Once, she was a hospital specialist. The clinic was a thriving health centre for mothers and babies.

But now, Yemen is caught up in deadly conflict. Dr Anisa is now a GP working in one of the only clinics where people can get free healthcare. Patients travel for hours to see her every day.

Like many doctors in Yemen, she hasn’t been paid in two years.

But Dr Anisa keeps going: “The conflict has affected everyone, not just us. I can’t do anything else, this is my job.”

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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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Learning lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire

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Mike at Grenfell Tower

Mike at Grenfell Tower ©BRC

Last year was one of the most challenging times in the history of the British Red Cross.

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire and terror attacks in London and Manchester, we responded on an unprecedented scale.

This included raising £28m for the people affected, sorting through 200 tonnes of donations and managing a 24-hour support line. Overall, we helped almost 2,300 people affected by these terrible tragedies.

From this, the Red Cross and other organisations that respond to emergencies have learned important lessons about how we support people in times of crisis. One of these is that all organisations involved in a crisis must work closely together.

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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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“It’s been such an amazing journey” – Hollie Booth and RISE in Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals

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Thirteen-year-old Hollie Booth from Sheffield is just like any other teenage girl who loves Ariana Grande and lives to dance.

Caught up in the Manchester Arena attack on 22 May last year, Hollie’s aunt Kelly Brewster was tragically killed, while Hollie herself was left seriously injured.

But she was determined to do all she could to recover and return to her passion of dancing.

Now she and her dance troupe, RISE Unbroken, are preparing to perform live on national TV – on one of the biggest talent shows in the country.

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