How to volunteer to help your community in an emergency

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Community reserve volunteers at a response exercise in Southampton - ©BritishRedCross/Andrew Hasson

Community reserve volunteers at a response exercise – ©BritishRedCross/Andrew Hasson

An exciting new campaign launches this week and we need your help.

The British Red Cross is aiming to recruit 10,000 volunteers across the UK who can help out when disaster strikes their local community.

The ‘community reserve volunteers’ will work together as a team during major emergencies, such as flooding.

They could also help out during other incidents such as a terror attack, or a major fire.

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Myanmar crisis: “Why are we here? We don’t know”

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child hold a baby in a camp in Bangladesh

On the steep hillsides near the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, a ramshackle collection of camps and settlements have sprung up.

Conditions here are extremely harsh – almost everyone is sheltering under plastic sheeting – with heavy rain and mud spreading sewage and washing homes away.

Over half a million people have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since August 2017, the majority of them women and young girls.

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“How I helped my baby having a febrile seizure”

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Leanne Barnett and her daughter Maia, who had a febrile seizure

Leanne and her daughter Maia, © Dave Fleming/UNP

Would you be able to spot a baby or child having a febrile seizure?

Two thirds of parents surveyed said they did not know what a febrile seizure was, or how to recognise or treat one.*

Luckily for 18-month-old Maia from Swindon, her mum Leanne Barnett did know what to do.

Back when Maia was six months old, Leanne decided to take a baby and child first aid course with the British Red Cross.

It was a good decision. When Maia suffered a febrile seizure, Leanne was able to give her daughter exactly the help she needed.

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How clean water is making better students in Zimbabwe

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children of Chipinge school

Pupils from Mabhiza School in Zimbabwe – ©BritishRedCross

With peak hunger season approaching in Southern Africa, many rural communities are once again feeling the strain.

In rural Zimbabwe alone, it’s forecast that 1.1 million will be food insecure between January and March 2018.

But one community is bucking the trend, having reaped the rewards of a Red Cross community resilience project.

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Fleeing Myanmar: portraits of lives overturned

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After fleeing their home in Myanmar, Shovika Mia holds her newborn daughter in a makeshift tent in Bangladesh

© photo by AF Ghani/IFRC

In a makeshift camp in Bangladesh, 25-year-old Shovika Mia holds her newborn daughter.

Shovika gave birth to baby Nur Halima in the hills while fleeing her home in Myanmar.

She and her husband, Shona, are among the more than 436,000 people who have fled a sudden increase in violence in Rakhine State.

Back home, the young couple had a house and four cows that provided a stable income.

But their house was burned in the violence. And as they fled, their cows were shot.

Now, they live in an informal camp for new arrivals to Bangladesh.

Shona, 27, has found work as a day labourer for around £2.70 a day. And although Shovika feels weak herself, her main worry is for her baby’s future.

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From pillowcase to grab bag: preparing youngsters for natural disasters

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©BritishRedCross/ChrisBull

Westholme Junior School – ©BritishRedCross/ChrisBull

The world is reeling from a series of devastating natural disasters. From Hurricane Harvey and the flooding in South Asia, to Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

We can’t avoid natural disasters, but through the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement we can help people prepare for them – such as by teaching people to have a grab bag ready.

When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, the American Red Cross noticed children using their pillowcases to carry their possessions to the rest centres.

Cue the Pillowcase Project: now even UK children are getting ready to face the worst with their pillowcase ‘grab bags’.

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