Vegans need first aid too

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For the past year I’ve challenged myself to have a more vegan diet. It started off as a short-term challenge just to liven up my usual vegetarian meals, to force myself to seek out new recipes, and to wean myself from cheese, chocolate and baked goods. I enjoyed it so much I set myself a new challenge – never to use dairy products at home.

Imagine my shock, then, when I read this blog post from the American Red Cross about vegan bandages. Vegan bandages? What in the world could be in regular bandages that would make them unacceptable to vegans? Cheese? Eggs? More

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

The difference we make

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Here’s a short quiz for you.

A volunteer supports an elderly woman with a cane as they walk1. In 2008, how many people in the UK did Red Cross volunteers help through short-term health crises (like coping after a hospital stay or getting to and from doctor appointments when they have limited mobility)?

a. almost 70,000
b. just over 150,000
c. nearly 290,000

2. Approximately how many refugees in the UK did we give assistance to last year?

a. 5,000
b. 20,000
c. 40,000 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