Ron Dowling flew missions for the RAF during the Second World War and is still proudly independent. But when flooding in Purley, South London, left him stranded, the 91-year-old called upon his “British Red Cross angels” to help him. More
Our volunteers have spent the weekend helping communities across the UK cope with the ongoing flooding.
In North Wales, we contacted 2060 vulnerable people by phone or in person to ask if they were coping and see if they needed any assistance. More
The coastal community of Walcott in Norfolk wasn’t just hit by last week’s floods: it was knocked for six.
The tidal surge brought crashing waves that devastated a caravan and chalet park situated on the seafront. It smashed down house walls, ripping out fences and tossing caravans about like toys.
For the Woods family, who live right on the seafront, things couldn’t have gone more badly. Their static home was completely destroyed – literally torn apart – by the rising water, and all their ruined belongings scattered throughout a nearby field.
The Thai Red Cross is responding in force to the worst floods to hit the country in over 50 years. Heavy monsoon rains, coupled with the remnants of tropical storms and typhoons from the South China Sea, have resulted in heavy flooding. To date, 320 people have been killed and 2.45 million have been affected.
The floods washed down from the northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Nan and Nong Khai to reach Thailand’s central plains. The Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani provinces have already been affected, and the floods now pose a serious risk to central Bangkok. Further rain continues to swell the floodwaters.
So far, the Thai Red Cross has provided help in many ways across 34 of the affected provinces. Volunteers and staff have reached over 500,000 people with relief and support, distributed over 133,400 relief kits, 122,200 packs of bottled water and 440 shelter boxes. Each shelter box supports a family of ten and consists of a tent with raised floor, bedding, kitchen utensils and other daily necessities.
The Thai Red Cross has been evacuating people using 16 flat bottomed boats. Three mobile health units – boats carrying a doctor, pharmacist and nurse – have been reaching isolated communities, and 25 fibreglass boats are being used to transport people and supplies.
The Thai Red Cross has deployed water purifier trucks and is providing floating toilets. As well as providing some ready meals, it is also cooking 4,800 hot meals a day from a mobile kitchen.
Having received overwhelming support from within the country, the Thai Red Cross have not requested outside assistance. However, the British Red Cross continues to monitor the situation closely.
Read more about what the Thai Red Cross is doing to help
Read the latest BBC update on the situation in the country
Penny Sims, Red Cross communications delegate, reports back from Pakistan:
Sometimes, being so far away from home, it’s good to see some things are universal. I’m at the Pakistan Red Crescent office in Dadu with around 40 volunteers, for a first aid training session.
I only have a few words of Urdu, but first aid really does transcend any language barrier. Watching the video ‘A first aider in every home’ I see familiar situations – falls, trips, burns, cuts.
Other aspects of first aid training appear to cross boundaries as well; the video is good, with some believably gory wounds, but there’s still a comedy moment of bad ‘oh dear, I’ve just fallen down the stairs’ acting that has everyone in fits of giggles.
The video takes us through the essentials – checking if a casualty is conscious, breathing, the DRAB check list (danger, response, airways, breathing – and calling for help). Knowing basic first aid is important for everybody, but in flood-affected regions like KN Shah it is vital – the village roads have been corroded by the flood water, or are strewn with debris, so access to emergency health care could be many hours away.
The training is part of a Pakistan Red Crescent programme supported by the German and Danish Red Cross, which combines deliveries of aid items such as blankets, tarpaulins and kitchen sets, with psychological support and useful training for local villagers.
The programme is helping 35 villages and will include building six community centres. Volunteers are going out to the villages to provide psychological support, but also first aid training and demonstrations in how to purify water.
It’s important not only to address people’s physical needs, but also their emotional and psychological needs.
Visit the British Red Cross website to read Dr Solangi’s story about helping address survivors’ psychological problems.
Image 1 © IFRC
The past several days have seen some terrible weather around the world. Here are updates on how Red Cross societies are helping their communities.
Heavy rain and flash floods have affected more than a million people in Sri Lanka. Crops have been inundated and people displaced from their homes.
Sri Lanka Red Cross volunteers have been out in boats and other vehicles, evacuating houses and transporting stranded people to safety. Since December, they’ve helped around 6,000 families through the rainy season by distributing food parcels, hygiene kits, kitchen kits, mosquito nets, blankets and water purification tablets. The Red Cross is calling this “a major disaster”. The IFRC has launched an appeal to assist the Sri Lanka Red Cross to provide water and sanitation and distribute relief to 70,000 people – they have been working since November to provide drinking water, dry rations, non-food items, and set up medical camps for 98,000 people.
At least 645 people have died and over 6,000 have lost their homes due to flooding in Brazil. The Brazilian Red Cross has been providing first aid, transporting survivors away from flooded areas, managing temporary shelters, transporting food, and supporting the Civil Defence and Rio de Janeiro’s government.
Water levels seem to be receding in Queensland and some people have been able to return home.
The Australian Red Cross has more than 800 staff and volunteers working in 25 locations across Queensland, supporting evacuation centres, recovery centres and information centres. Find out more about how the Red Cross is helping in Australia.
The Australian Red Cross has launched an appeal for donations in partnership with the Victorian government.
How you can help
Right now, the British Red Cross isn’t asking for donations for these specific disasters, but we do have a Disaster Fund that helps us respond quickly to disasters in the UK and around the world.
We don’t send donated goods overseas (find out why not on our website), but items that are donated to our charity shops help fund our full range of life-saving work in the UK and overseas.
Donate to the British Red Cross Disaster Fund.