Category: International

‘Hurricane Maria is slowing the relief effort, but it won’t stop us’

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Volunteers register people in need of help

Volunteers register people in need of help

Hurricanes Irma and Maria have brought widespread destruction to the Caribbean. Trevor Queeley, from the Anguilla Red Cross, says Maria is delaying the aid effort, but his teams are eager to get back to helping people.  

Hurricane Maria is battering our shores, less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma brought devastation to Anguilla. As I write this, people are sheltering from powerful winds and tropical storm conditions.

We don’t have any reports of injuries on Anguilla as yet, but that could change. I know some people have lost their temporary shelter materials, such as tarpaulins, so we’ll need additional supplies.

But we’re lucky that we’re only experiencing the outer edges of Hurricane Maria.

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“Unbearable conditions” facing families fleeing Myanmar violence

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A woman from Myanmar holds a baby and looks back as people around her walk uphill on a muddy path

© AJ Ghani/Bangladesh Red Crescent

In the pouring monsoon rain, a family trudges through the mud on a journey that could be the difference between life and death.

This is the border between Myanmar, also known as Burma, and Bangladesh.

In recent weeks, thousands of people have fled their homes in Myanmar with almost no possessions and entered a country in the grip of terrible floods.

Many more remain stranded in border areas without food, water or shelter.

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Hurricane Irma: pictures from the devastation

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British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma

Credit: British Red Cross

By Kevin Studds, British Red Cross country manager for our overseas branches

Hurricane Irma is the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. As it continues its path across the Caribbean, the extent of the devastation is starting to become clear.

So far, the islands of St Martin and Barbuda have borne the brunt of the storm. But also affected are the British Overseas Territories of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands where the British Red Cross has branches.

With Hurricane Jose following close behind in Irma’s path, the concern for those caught up in the north-east Caribbean heightens.

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“I couldn’t save anything but the children’s lives” – South Asia floods

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Mother and child stand in the rain as the South Asia floods hit India

Mother and child in India © Hanna Butler/IFRC

The worst monsoon floods in decades have claimed thousands of lives and continue to devastate communities across South Asia.

More than 41 million people across Nepal, India and Bangladesh have been affected. An area roughly the size of the UK is under water.

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Day of the disappeared: see the moment loved ones are reunited

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Mohammdau waits to board a flight

Mohammadu waits to board a flight to be reunited with his stepfather, who he hasn’t seen in two years. Photo credit: Rahima Gambo / British Red Cross.

In the chaos of an armed attack, you might only have seconds to escape with your life. Yet surviving can feel bittersweet if you become separated from loved ones in the process.

This may sound surreal but it is a real experience shared by many living in Africa’s Lake Chad region. Years of armed conflict originating in Nigeria have torn families apart.

Today marks International Day of the Disappeared – a day where we recognise the thousands of people still missing.

But we also have a positive story to share which shows the moment loved ones are finally reunited.

Over two years ago, 15-year-old Mohammadu fled alone from the conflict in Nigeria to Chad. He left behind his mother, stepfather and other siblings. He hadn’t seen any of them since then – until recently.

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Bangladesh under water: monsoon floods hit South Asia

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Shilpi collects water as she and her cows shelter on a tiny island surrounded by water in what was once a field

© Aminul Sawon

Shilpi’s cows are her life. Like many in Bangladesh, she makes a living from the land.

Each year, Shilpi and others in her village welcome the monsoon rains. They bring the fresh water they need to live on for the next year.

But in recent weeks, the monsoon rains have relentlessly pounded this part of Bangladesh.

Rainwater from the Himalayas is travelling down through Nepal’s lower lying areas, through swollen rivers in north-east India and eventually through the floodplains of Bangladesh.

Vast swaths of land across all three countries are under water.

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Little food, no water and stifling heat: families trapped in the Syrian desert

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A two-year-old girl takes a bath in a plastic basin of dirty water outside Raqqa, Syria

© ICRC/ Ingy Sedky

While hundreds of thousands of people have managed to escape the fighting in Raqqa since April, the fate of tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the Syrian city remains unknown. Ingy Sedky, from the International Committee of the Red Cross, reports from the camps outside the forlorn city.

“Take a picture,” the man said to me as he took my hand. “Show the world how we are living.”

He brought me to see his young daughter, who was having a bath in a basin full of contaminated, muddy water.

This family once had a house with running water and clean clothes. They went to work and school, and ate good meals together.

Now, this is all they have, this is how they live.

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Back to the land: how gardening saves lives in Syria

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A wooden box with a handle is filled with vegetables harvested from an allotment in the UK

An allotment harvest in the UK © iStock

If you’ve ever obsessed over plant watering techniques, cursed an army of slugs or wondered what to do with a wheelbarrow of artichokes, chances are you’re an allotment holder.

Allotments are a UK institution. Waiting lists stretch from years into decades in some places as we hanker after the magic of growing our own food.

Over the next few months allotment owners will reap the rewards of their hours of toil as runner beans, potatoes and squash are ready to harvest. More