From the deck of our rescue boat: a panic attack

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man suffers panic attack on board the Responder

As the Responder search and rescue ship docks in Augusta, Sicily, a young man collapses, shaking.

Brunella Pirozzi, the doctor in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies team checks him. It’s a panic attack. The team leads him to a seat and stays with him until he calms down a little. Bit by bit, the 22-year-old unclenches his fists and begins counting on his fingers.

“My two brothers. My mother. Killed in front of my eyes. Then they came for my sister.”

He pulls the neck of his shirt down to show a red scar.

“They stabbed me when I tried to stop them from taking her. I played dead so they didn’t kill me too.”

After fleeing for his life, the young man pays traffickers in Libya for a place on a boat to Europe. Just outside Libyan coastal waters, his boat is intercepted by the joint Red Cross and MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) operation.

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Grants, ducks and cyclones: seven lessons from Bangladesh

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A man standing in a doorway holding a duck in each hand

What would you do if cyclones flooded the farmland you depend on every year?

Imagine living in an area that floods nearly every year.

For two to three months, you earn can no money and have to leave your home because it is surrounded by several feet of water.

Your house and farm animals can even get swept out to sea.

Despite working hard and saving between the cyclones, your family gets caught in this cycle year after year.

In 2013, the Red Cross, with our partner the Bangladesh Red Crescent, started supporting people in coastal villages in a new way.

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New portrait marks six decades of support from Her Majesty

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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II looks at a portrait of herself by Henry Ward

Photo credit: Press Association

Back in 2014, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II sat for artist Henry Ward as he crafted a painting that would mark six decades of patronage to the British Red Cross.

Two years on, the result is the spectacular eight-foot portrait of the Queen pictured above, which she herself unveiled today at Windsor Castle before a select audience.

This is the first time the Queen has been depicted in a portrait as the patron of the Red Cross. Join us to peek into the archives and take a look at 60 years of support from the Queen.

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Homeless and hungry – life after Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

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elmita-nodeis-blog

Elmita Nodeis sits on the ground in the school courtyard with a few buckets in front of her.

The school, in the southern Haitian town of Les Cayes, is being used as an evacuation centre in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. It has become home for Elmita and her family.

“My home has been destroyed and I haven’t eaten since yesterday, so I started washing people’s clothes for a bit of money,” said Elmita. More

Seeds of change – making the most of El Niño in Kenya

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kenya-kitui-2Few kind words have been written about El Niño – that dreaded bearer of floods and droughts. Yet a bit of planning and investment has seen communities in Kenya benefit from the weather phenomenon, as Sarah Barr from our international team explains.

The semi-arid landscape of Kitui County hides no secrets. Droughts in the dry season, floods during the rainy season, it’s little wonder that farmers face such difficulty growing crops in a climate that fluctuates so wildly.

Most people here do some form of agriculture, whether it’s simply growing enough food to feed their families, or to sell at market for a modest income.

Changes in weather patterns can lead to food shortages, impacting people’s livelihoods and health, so we were following El Niño very closely.

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In pictures – the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

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hurricane-matthew-9The huge scale of damage inflicted by Hurricane Matthew is becoming clear. Of the countries hit by the category-four storm, Haiti is the worst affected.

The country’s south-west peninsula bore the brunt of last week’s hurricane with some areas still only accessible by air and sea.

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First aid for cyclists: From average Joe to sporting pro

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The Senior Academy programme with British Cycling have been brushing up on their first aid skills with the Red Cross. Cycling in Britain is at an all-time high. More than two million people across the country now cycle at least once a week.*

Perhaps we’ve all been inspired by Chris Froome adding a third yellow Tour de France jersey to his collection, or the Great Britain Cycling Team sweeping up 12 Olympic medals at Rio 2016?

Whatever the reason, it’s great that more and more people are sharing a love of cycling.

But new research conducted by the British Red Cross found that while 90 per cent of cyclists think sports people have a responsibility to look after each other, 40 per cent would not have the confidence to help a fellow cyclist in a first aid emergency.

Bumps, scrapes and falls come hand-in-hand with sporting activities – no matter what level you’re at. And we want to make sure people know what to do in a crisis. From average Joe to pro.

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How the Red Cross and a typewriter turned things around for Jean

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Jean holding up some of the stories she has typed on her typewriter.

You know that old saying, ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’? Well for 91-year-old Jean, that straw was a typewriter.

When Jean returned to her home in the Yorkshire Dales after a spell in hospital, she felt low and isolated.

So when her beloved typewriter broke too, an already difficult situation became a personal crisis.

“Everything seemed to go wrong for me,” Jean said.

Fortunately, our dedicated volunteers are skilled in all sorts of things – even fixing typewriters it seems.

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