Category: Emergencies

Interactive map: a snapshot of our work in the Middle East

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For families forced to flee their homes due to conflict, each season brings new challenges and difficulties.

While many countries are known for being very hot, they also have bitterly cold winters.

Click on the map to find out how your support to our appeals for Syria, Iraq and Yemen helps us bring life-saving aid to people across the Middle East throughout the year.

Red Cross search and rescue boat saves hundreds of lives in first 24 hours

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The Responder at sunset

The deep indigo of the Mediterranean stretches out in every direction.

Only the throb of the engine and occasional shout from deck break the silence.

Then, what at first appears as a tiny drop of colour close to the horizon is greeted with renewed activity. The crew jump into action.

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A dream, a memory and a cash grant: how Syrian refugees keep going in Jordan

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A young Syrian boy stands near clothes drying on a line outside a house in Jordan

In Britain, feelings about refugees are running high. But most refugees never even try to come to Europe.

The vast majority of Syrian refugees have fled to neighbouring countries, including Jordan.

According to the UN, there are more than 657,200 Syrian refugees in Jordan. But the Jordanian government says there are nearly twice as many – around 1.3 million.

This means that approximately one in ten or one in six people in Jordan is a Syrian refugee – a huge percentage either way.

And, like in the UK, unemployment and increasing competition for jobs are issues in Jordan. Most refugees can’t work there legally and have to rely on humanitarian aid.

So, while life in Jordan is better than being bombed or hungry in Syria, it is often still hard.

The British Red Cross, with our partners the Jordan Red Crescent, has supported Syrian refugee families in Jordan since 2012.

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A different kind of fire-fighter

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Andy stood outside his fire damaged house with the two Red Cross volunteers who helped him start the recovery process following a house fire

Watching your home burn can be heart-breaking. As your belongings go up in flames, it can feel like your memories and life are too.  

“You don’t know how you’ll feel until that happens and I don’t want to feel like that again,” said Andy Goodwin.

Earlier on this year, he watched the fire service tackle a blazing fire which engulfed his home in Linden, Gloucester. He and his family had made it out safely thanks to a working smoke alarm.

But standing out in the cold on the street and in their nightclothes, Andy couldn’t focus on what to do next: “I was all at sixes and sevens. I was all over the place.”

Fortunately two British Red Cross volunteers were called upon by the fire service – and they had everything Andy needed at that very moment to cope with this crisis.

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Surgery by head-torch: life as a doctor in South Sudan

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Red Cross volunteers carry person on stretcher

Renewed violence in South Sudan has begun a fresh cycle of displacement for thousands of people.

Since December 2013, more than two million people have fled their homes. You can help them by making a donation to our appeal today.

Earlier this month, armed confrontations in the capital, Juba, forced many organisations to suspend their work.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provides protection and assistance to victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence around the world. It is often the part of International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement which is first on the scene when fighting breaks out.

So it was for Colin Berry, an anaesthetist from Exeter who works with the Red Cross. Colin is recently back from a mission to the town of Raja in the north west of the country. Shooting and looting in Raja has recently injured many people and sent scores into the bush to hide.

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Yellow fever: a quiet crisis in Angola

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In the highly populated Viana municipality, 54 Red Cross volunteers are using mobilisation techniques to inform people about the Yellow Fever.

Since December a quiet crisis has been rumbling in Angola.

A crisis that is now threatening to get out of control.

What started out in pockets of the capital, Luanda, has now spread to large swathes of the country.

Angola’s neighbour to the north – the Democratic Republic of the Congo – has recently declared an epidemic in three provinces.

There are now real fears it could spread still further.

What is this crisis caused by?

A virus prevented by a single inoculation.

Yellow fever.

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Speaking for those who cannot: supporting survivors of sexual violence

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Three women stand with their backs to the viewer on dusty ground in Africa with only their long skirts and feet showing

“When I went to Pascaline’s parents to ask for her hand, they agreed even though I only had half the dowry. When we got married, we were in love.”

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jacques still speaks about his wife Pascaline with love.

“Years went by, we had children, and we were still happy together,” he continues.

Then Pascaline was raped by armed men at the side of the road. They stole everything she had.

“I felt like dying. I never imagined this would happen,” she said

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A hug, a smile and Elmo: helping children in Fiji

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A girl in Fiji smiles as she gets a hug from an Elmo puppet almost as big as she is

What does Elmo have to do with cyclones in Fiji?

More than you might guess.

On 20 and 21 February, Tropical Cyclone Winston smashed into Fiji with winds of up to 325 kilometres an hour.

Approximately 350,000 people were affected. Around 120,000 of them were children.

When it was over, 28,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Some families lost everything.

Thousands of children now go to school in tents because their school buildings are no longer standing.

Some children were so terrified by the cyclone that they are still scared of any rain.

They may even start to run in panic – across roads, into rivers – to escape.

This is where Elmo and his friends can help.

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