A dark day in the history of the Red Cross

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©ICRC/AbdulazizAl-Droubi

©ICRC/AbdulazizAl-Droubi

We cannot accept attacks on aid workers, says British Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson. 

I received a message around lunchtime yesterday informing me that six of our colleagues from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had been killed in Afghanistan in an apparent deliberate attack by unknown armed men. Two colleagues are still unaccounted for.

A matter of hours later I was told that one of our aid distribution centres, near Aleppo, Syria, had also been attacked. One staff member from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) was killed. Two other people, who had come to the centre to receive aid, were also killed.

These developments highlight a profoundly worrying escalation in loss of life of humanitarian workers. They risk marking the moment that the death of people who should be protected under the international rules of war became the norm. We cannot accept that.

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When the monkey shakes its tail in Mongolia

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An old postage stamp from Monglia showing a money scratching its head and a space probe

© ConradFries

The people of Mongolia will soon welcome in the year of the rooster. At the same time, the year of the monkey will draw to a close.

And it will leave behind one of the coldest winters so far this century.

In the Mongolian astrology system, every year – running from around February to January – is represented by one of 12 animals.

People born in the year of the monkey are thought to be clever and playful.

But there is an ancient saying in Mongolia: when the monkey shakes its tail, it will bring on a dzud.

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The Lake Chad crisis from Cameroon: “Home is home. We want peace.”

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lake-chad-ben-blog-721

Modou, pictured centre wearing a yellow shirt and blue trousers, fled when his village was attacked.

There is a crisis in the Lake Chad region. Years of conflict have forced people to leave their homes and search for safety and food. In many areas, cut-off from the outside world, the extent of human suffering remains largely unknown, but predictably desperate.

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Thirteen pictures from a land without rain

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halima profile

Most of Halima’s children are too young to remember how things used to be.

She remembers though. And each year she sees the determined march of the desert into her once rich pastoral lands, it brings a sense of foreboding to her village.

They have lost livestock to the drought – a barometer of wealth here – and people’s health is starting to fail.

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Returning home in Syria: two sheep to welcome you back

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What does going home mean to you?

Maybe a warm welcome, familiar surroundings and a good meal with the people you love?

Ahmad and his family could not rely on any of those things when they returned to their devastated village near Homs, Syria.

But thanks to two pregnant sheep, this is about to change.

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