Category: Emergencies

Postcard from Solferino:2

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I’m still in Italy with thousands of Red Cross volunteers celebrating the Movement’s 150th anniversary. Today, Caroline Sanderson is blogging about her hectic official and social schedules.

Caroline’s day
Hello. It’s Thursday already – the days have gone by so quickly. We’ve all made so many friends and are having a great time. Yesterday finished very late – the planned cultural night was replaced with a gig by an Italian rock n roll band that no-one had ever heard of. Including the Italians.

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Postcard from Solferino:1

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This week I’m in Italy with thousands of Red Cross volunteers to celebrate the Movement’s 150th anniversary in Solferino. Each day this week, a young British Red Cross delegate will be taking time to blog about their experiences here. First up – Mike Baxter.

Mike’s busy, busy day
Yesterday we set off for Solferino! I met my fellow delegates Caroline Sanderson, Donnie Lawson and Clare Everett early at Stanstead Airport. After the flight, we were collected by the Italian Red Cross in one of their minibuses. (This was better than the proposed three-hour long public transport marathon!)

As we arrived, there was a sea of Red Crosses and Crescents and the occasional Crystal too We booked in, signed up for our workshops and went to find our tent. Claire and Caroline somehow managed to go to the wrong sub-camp and we later established they had pitched camp in the Bangladeshi Red Crescent tent.

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Monday Movement update #12

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Here’s your weekly update on what different members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement* are doing.

Men unload food bags from a truck in PakistanPakistan conflict: “Every time we entered a village, hundreds of people asked for help.” The ICRC, the only international humanitarian organization active in Swat and Lower Dir in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, has started to help those affected by conflict.

Protecting albinos in Burundi and Tanzania: Dozens of people with albinism have been murdered and their body parts sold in Burundi and Tanzania in the past few months. The Red Cross is providing humanitarian aid and support to their families and is defending their right to live in dignity.

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Mission accomplished in Bangladesh

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I was somewhere outside of Dhaka with just a driver, a copy of the Lonely Planet and one word of Bengali when I fully realised the enormity of the task that lay head of me. I put my trepidation to one side as my car rolled up the gangplank and on to the first of many ferry crossings I was to encounter in the coming month. I’d only landed in the country a few hours earlier and now I was on my way to the port town of Chittagong in the south east of Bangladesh. This was the first time I’d arrived in the immediate aftermath of a big disaster and I had a job to do.

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Monday Movement update #11

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Here’s your weekly update on what different members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement* are doing.

Sri Lanka conflict: More than 250,000 people have been displaced by fighting in Sri Lanka. They need food, water, medical care, security and to know the fate of their loved ones.

Children wash clothes in PakistanPakistan conflict: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an emergency appeal to help the Pakistan Red Crescent Society meet the humanitarian needs of 140,000 people displaced from areas of fighting. The ICRC is stepping up its support for the civilians affected.

Polio in west Africa: There have been outbreaks of polio in some west African countries that had not reported a case of the disease in over a decade. Seven thousand Red Cross volunteers in 14 countries have been taking part in a major campaign to immunise children. More

Bragging for a cause

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Most of the time I’m far too English to brag but it’s for a good cause so please indulge me – you see I want to show you a picture of one of the places I’ve had the opportunity to work with the Red Cross.

Maldives island

Yep, it’s the Maldives.

Although my day job at the Red Cross is international writer, I’m also a trained member of our logistics emergency response unit (ERU). This means I’m part of a roster and every year I spend one month being on-call 24/7. If a major disaster happens, such as the Caribbean hurricanes last year, then the four-member team is ready to be deployed immediately to help deliver and distribute relief items.

Obviously the chances of being deployed every year are pretty slim so it’s important we keep up our skills, which is done each year by a week-long training session involving a simulated emergency – I’d tell you more about this but my colleague Clare has just written a particularly amusing blog about the whole thing.

Anyway, back to my bragging. More

Monday Movement update #10

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Here’s your weekly update on what different members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement* are doing.

A man lies on a bed in a Zimbabwean clinicSri Lanka conflict: Displaced people in Sri Lanka not only need food, water and medical care. Thousands need to know whether relatives are alive and well. Jacques de Maio, ICRC head of operations for South Asia, explains how the organisation is helping.

Cholera in Zimbabwe: The Federation believes it’s likely Zimbabwe will see its hundred thousandth case of cholera sometime this week. More

Fintastic logistics training

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Another week, another country, another training course. This time I was in Finland, in a place called Tampere, which is Finland’s second biggest city. The Finns are quite keen on ranking things by size I discovered. It was here on the banks of the Tammerkoski Rapids in south-western Finland where the Nokia company was first set up. This was before it relocated to the town of Nokia and took on the name. Lucky really as “Äteritsiputeritsipuolilautatsijänkä connecting people” isn’t quite so snappy a slogan!

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