Monday Movement update #14

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A woman watches hundreds of soldiers pass by in lorriesHere’s your weekly update on what different members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement* are doing.

Philippines kidnapping: Eugenio Vagni was freed yesterday! The ICRC staff member was kidnapped in the Philippines with two colleagues on 15 January. His colleagues were freed in April.

Survey on civilians in conflict: An ICRC survey reveals what life is like for people living in eight countries experiencing conflict.

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aMESing

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A wheelchair

It’s been a little while since my last blog (BIG apologies to the “blogging team”)

The medical equipment service has been busier than ever over the past 2 months and I thought I would share with you some of the FANTASTIC achievements our service has in WAG this June.

With the purse strings tighter than ever and everyone watching their pennies it hasn’t been easy to get people to part with their hard earned cash recently, but the service assistants and volunteers in Avon, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire have been able to keep ahead of the times providing the best possible level of customer service and advise and as result have achieved some pretty amazing results.

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Why do it?

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Things have now returned to normal after the fun, glamour and excitement of the European first aid competition in Germany last week. Its time to return to the real world!

Yesterday I was running a basic first aid course for a local church group. We covered a range of life-threatening conditions such as dealing with an unconscious person, doing cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and treating someone who is bleeding badly (if your interested…read more about first aid).

I had one of our peer educators helping me with the course. These are young volunteers who make me coffee assist trainers. They also go out into the community and teach first aid or raise awareness of topics such as HIV/AIDS and sexual health.
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Freebie heebie jeebies

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It’s strange to be in the world’s largest humanitarian organisation and feel like the underdog.

I spent yesterday at the annual conference for the British Association of Dermatologists to promote our skin camouflage service. Aiming to keep costs down we’d limited the freebies and publicity material at our stand, just doing enough to get the information across.

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Crisis in Camberwell

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Last Friday at about four thirty in the afternoon, I suspect many of you were twiddling your thumbs at work, mentally planning your weekend and savouring the thought of that first sip of wine / beer / freshly pressed guava juice (delete as appropriate).

Unless you happened to be a Red Cross volunteer, that is. Around that time last Friday, 22 emergency response volunteers and staff members were called out to a serious tower block fire in Camberwell, South London.

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Shape the future of the Geneva Conventions

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A Red Cross delegate interviews a man and several children in front of a bombed buildingThis August the Geneva Conventions – those international treaties that protect certain groups of people during wars – turn 60. The world has changed a lot since 1949, and so has the way wars are fought and reported on.

For example, journalists are much more likely to travel with the military these days, meaning those of us watching TV can get a more realistic view of conflict but also meaning journalists are in greater danger. How can we make sure that journalists are protected?

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What’s big, red and worthy all over?

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Victoria Pendleton holding her bikeI am passionate, some would say evangelical about cycling. So I have loved the recent sunny snap in London. Because it’s been so warm I’ve been cycling just about everywhere, not just the 7-mile commute I do to work and back.

I realised last week, after doing two combined trips, I’d notched up 20 miles in one day. Suffice to say I was quite tired… and very hungry afterwards.

I have been cycling seriously for ages and can’t recommend it highly enough. It brings such simple pleasure to cruise down a leafy avenue with the sun streaming down on your back and birdsong (between the roar of traffic) in your ears.

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One day. 26 teams. 1,000 Red Cross volunteers

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We’re finally home after an exhausting, yet amazing, time at the First Aid Convention in Europe (FACE) 2009 held this year in Oldenburg, Germany. Yesterday saw the highlight of the convention, a first aid competition held in the city centre of Oldenburg.

The day began (quite painfully) at 5am. Of course we were sensible and had an early night, some teams however chose to party into the early hours and suffered in the morning!

Then came the scenarios, I can’t list them all but to give you a flavour we had:

  • A van on fire after a gas explosion, we had to assist the German fire & rescue service. Personally I found this the most challenging; I had a casualty with major burns and not enough water to cool them. Our team leader then came up with the idea of using a fire hose to cool his injuries, genius!
  • A drunken fishing expedition gone wrong. This ended up with a man falling into the river.
  • An accident at a wedding procession involving a horse drawn carriage (With real living horses wandering around).

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