Bangladesh under water: monsoon floods hit South Asia

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Shilpi collects water as she and her cows shelter on a tiny island surrounded by water in what was once a field

© Aminul Sawon

Shilpi’s cows are her life. Like many in Bangladesh, she makes a living from the land.

Each year, Shilpi and others in her village welcome the monsoon rains. They bring the fresh water they need to live on for the next year.

But in recent weeks, the monsoon rains have relentlessly pounded this part of Bangladesh.

Rainwater from the Himalayas is travelling down through Nepal’s lower lying areas, through swollen rivers in north-east India and eventually through the floodplains of Bangladesh.

Vast swaths of land across all three countries are under water.

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From discussing beans on toast to campaigning against landmines, memories of Princess Diana’s work with the Red Cross

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Diana visiting children at Hindleap Warren in 1985

Diana visiting children at Hindleap Warren in 1985

Next week marks the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death. Throughout her life, the Princess was a dedicated humanitarian who championed causes in the UK and overseas. We look back on her journey with the Red Cross.

Princess Diana was always committed to using her public profile to bring about positive change.

A firm believer in the power of young people, she became patron of the Red Cross Youth in 1983, which gave her an increasingly visible role with the British Red Cross.

In July 1985, Diana visited a Red Cross adventure camp for disabled children at Hindleap Warren, in East Sussex.

Barbara Summerfield, 85, from Saltdean, was a youth officer at the time and has fond memories of Diana’s visit.

“What went down well, more than anything else, was that Diana was a real person who the children could talk to,” said Barbara.

Diana spending time with children at Hindleap Warren in 1985

Diana spending time with children at Hindleap Warren in 1985

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Little food, no water and stifling heat: families trapped in the Syrian desert

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A two-year-old girl takes a bath in a plastic basin of dirty water outside Raqqa, Syria

© ICRC/ Ingy Sedky

While hundreds of thousands of people have managed to escape the fighting in Raqqa since April, the fate of tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the Syrian city remains unknown. Ingy Sedky, from the International Committee of the Red Cross, reports from the camps outside the forlorn city.

“Take a picture,” the man said to me as he took my hand. “Show the world how we are living.”

He brought me to see his young daughter, who was having a bath in a basin full of contaminated, muddy water.

This family once had a house with running water and clean clothes. They went to work and school, and ate good meals together.

Now, this is all they have, this is how they live.

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Back to the land: how gardening saves lives in Syria

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A wooden box with a handle is filled with vegetables harvested from an allotment in the UK

An allotment harvest in the UK © iStock

If you’ve ever obsessed over plant watering techniques, cursed an army of slugs or wondered what to do with a wheelbarrow of artichokes, chances are you’re an allotment holder.

Allotments are a UK institution. Waiting lists stretch from years into decades in some places as we hanker after the magic of growing our own food.

Over the next few months allotment owners will reap the rewards of their hours of toil as runner beans, potatoes and squash are ready to harvest. More

Sheep, medicine and food – how cash grants change lives in Pakistan

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In Pakistan, Naqeebullah holds a sheep while his young sons lean on his shoulders and one of the boys holds another sheep

Naqeebullah, his sheep and two of his sons © Pakistan Red Crescent

The Red Cross may be famous for our food parcels and more traditional forms of aid, but cash grants have long been an integral part of our work. Put simply, cash changes lives.

We’re working with the Pakistan Red Crescent to give cash to people in rural areas of Balochistan Province.

From buying sheep to feeding hungry children, cash gives people the independence to buy whatever they need and helps to stimulate the local economy.

Here are four ways people have used their cash grants. More

India partition – looking back at the Red Cross response to the refugee crisis

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Milk is distributed at refugee children at a camp in Multan, Pakistan

Milk is distributed to children at a refugee camp in Multan, Pakistan – ©BritishRedCross

India and Pakistan are celebrating 70 years of independence next week. While their new-found independence was a cause for celebration, the partition of British India in August 1947 triggered one of the largest population movements in history as millions were displaced. We take a look at how the British Red Cross responded to the crisis.

The partition of India and subsequent creation of Pakistan came after years of campaigning for Indian independence from British rule.

Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, who would become India’s first prime minister, and Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the first governor general of Pakistan, lobbied and protested tirelessly along with countless others for the sovereignty independence offered.

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Disabled and lonely? The Red Cross can help

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Sue Seers received support from the British Red Cross

Isabella is a life-line to Sue Seers. She’s not her carer, support worker, or even a family member – but a wheelchair.

For two years Sue was unable to leave her house due to deteriorating health. But then the British Red Cross helped her get a wheelchair and start a journey away from loneliness and social isolation.

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