Praying for rain: one day in drought-hit Somalia

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Garabis, Balilgubadle village, 35 km from Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland. Severe drought in Somalia has caused the death of many animals and badly affected the lives of shepherds. Throughout the area, most wells have dried up, which has resulted in the death of more than half of the cattle. Families have lost their income, along with their main source of food and milk.

Reporting from drought-hit Somaliland, Hannah Wilkinson, the British Red Cross’ senior media manager, discovers a proud people struggling to survive.

Soon after stepping off the plane in the city of Hargeisa, I learnt that my visit coincided with the President declaring a national day of prayer. People here have actually been asked to pray for rain.

Driving towards Sool, one of the worst drought affected areas in eastern Somaliland, you can see why. More

“He was always looking after us” – Lee’s journey from Tunisia attacks to London Marathon

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Lee Stocker, wearing a British Red Cross vest top to train for the London Marathon, sits next to his wife Nicole

Lee Stocker and his wife Nicole © Evening Standard

“Without him, I don’t know how we would have coped.”

Lee Stocker is talking about Dr Howie Fine, a British Red Cross psychological and emotional support volunteer.

Lee’s parents Janet and John Stocker were among the 38 people killed during the beach attack in Sousse, Tunisia, two years ago.

To remember his parents and those who died, and to say thank you for Red Cross support, 38-year-old Lee is running the London Marathon.

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Loneliness in the UK: “If you’ve got the spare time, what better way is there of using it?”

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Volunteering, loneliness, UK

Gareth Spencer volunteers with the Red Cross in Wales – ©TimMossford/UNP

Whether he’s repairing shoes or volunteering, Gareth Spencer is certainly finding different ways to help people put their best foot forward. 

The part-time cobbler from Pontypridd, Wales, is a volunteer for the British Red Cross. Over the past year, he’s helped many people overcome issues like loneliness. You could too.

“If you’ve got the spare time, what better way is there of using it?” said Gareth. More

Baking bread and colouring hair – Syrian women take charge

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In Syria, Amani and Rouda stand next to each other next to a shelf of beauty products and a mirror

Amani and Rouda in their salon in Damascus, Syria ©IFRC

Syria remains the world’s largest and most complicated humanitarian crisis. As governments and international organisations gather to discuss the coming year’s aid to Syria, the Red Cross is helping people to return to a more normal life.

You wouldn’t usually find a fully-fitted beauty salon inside a small rented apartment in a suburb of Damascus, Syria’s capital.

But Amani and her friend Rouda set up just such a salon six months ago after attending a hairdressing course run by our partner, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

For Amani, becoming a hairdresser was a chance to pursue a dream and to support her family after losing her husband and home.

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Why runners should learn first aid

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Red Cross staff and volunteers pose for a photo. They provide first aid during the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon

If you’re taking part in a sporting event this year, you might meet someone like Andy Owen. He’s an event first aid volunteer for the British Red Cross.

Every year, Red Cross staff and volunteers like Andy help out at lots of different events, including sporting ones. So, they know a thing or two about sports injuries.

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Escaping Mosul: the youngest and oldest speak out

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A child looks over his mother's shoulder in Mosul, Iraq, as people arrive at a camp

©Tommy Trenchar/ Panos Pictures

“Planes were shelling, bombs were exploding: we fled from death.”

Stark words from a stark place: western Mosul in Iraq, where fighting has forced thousands of families out of their homes.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent are providing essential food, water and medical care to tens of thousands of people in camps and host communities.

This includes 30,000 hot meals and 40,000 pieces of fresh bread in one day.

But who are these people? What have they suffered? What do they want next?

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