Category: Emergencies

Whether an emergency is in rural Wales or the Horn of Africa, the Red Cross provides whatever is needed. From emergency food to emotional support, we are there.

I want my pictures to help refugees from Myanmar

By
Dil Seher, who fled violence in Myanmar and now lives in a refugee camp in Bangladesh, holds a photograph of her husband and child.

Dil Seher, a widow, holds a picture of her missing husband, © Farzana Hossen/British Red Cross

Tragedy, hope and ordinary days: photographer Farzana Hossen reveals what life is like in the world’s largest refugee camp. It’s now home to 740,000 people who fled Myanmar for Bangladesh two years ago.

I have visited the camp many times. At the beginning of the emergency, what I saw horrified me. People were just lying on the street and dying in front of my eyes.

There were dead bodies with children standing to one side watching, crying. Many had lost their parents, whether through death or when they fled.

I was left feeling helpless, a situation where you are exposed to so much suffering that you feel there are just too many people to help. Of course, I wanted to, and did in the way I could.

More

10 things you might not know about the Red Cross

By
A child displaced by a tsunami in Indonesia receives a Red Cross blanket.

Photo credit: Hariandi Hafid / British Red Cross

1. A gruesome battle sparked the idea for the Red Cross

On his journey to meet Napoleon III in 1859, the businessman Henry Dunant witnessed a bloody battle in present-day Italy. What he saw horrified him – men were left to die in agony without medical aid.

This sparked his vision for impartial medical volunteers, who helped the wounded no matter what side of the war they were on.

More

Periods, hygiene and brave young women volunteers in Bangladesh

By
Azida, Nur Kayeda, and Hamida, three volunteers at the Red Cross camp for people who fled their homes after violence in Myanmar.

Azida, Nur Kayeda, and Hamida, hygiene volunteers

For World Menstrual Hygiene Day (Tuesday 28 May 2019), we’re shining a light on three 18-year-olds living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Together, they are dedicated to helping women and girls in their community.

Keeping things hygienic in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, is a difficult task.

It’s the biggest refugee camp in the world, and people live in small, cramped conditions. That’s why the British Red Cross has built latrines and wash facilities here to promote best hygiene practices.

But for a woman in Cox’s Bazar, it isn’t as straightforward.

After these latrines were built, we found that some women and girls weren’t always using them.

There are reports of gender-based violence in the camps.

Many women are terrified to travel to wherever their nearest toilet is located. Some worry that their dignity and privacy will be compromised.

More

Record-breaking two cyclones hit Mozambique: urgent aid needed after Cyclone Kenneth

By
A picture from the air shows flooding and destruction of homes and roads by Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique

Cyclone Kenneth is one of the strongest storms ever to hit Mozambique

A second huge cyclone – Cyclone Kenneth – has slammed into Mozambique. This comes just six weeks after Cyclone Idai killed hundreds of people and damaged 35,000 homes.

Cyclone Kenneth also caused devastation on the island nation of Comoros and the neighbouring country of Tanzania.

Never, since records began, have two such enormous cyclones struck Mozambique in the same year. It is unusual even for one storm of this size to hit the country.

And a cyclone has never been known to hit Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado, where Cyclone Kenneth landed.

Yet Cyclone Kenneth was a huge category 4 storm, with winds of 140 miles per hour and 8-metre waves. This is taller than the average two-story house.

“Rains from the storm have already caused flooding of over 2 metres (6.5 feet) in Pemba, the regional capital of Cabo,” said Luke Tredget, British Red Cross disaster management coordinator for southern Africa.

“To put this in perspective, average rainfall in a whole year in the UK is 885 millimetres (33.7 inches).”

More

Doris Zinkeisen: frontline artist who painted the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

By
A painting by war artist Doris Zinkeisen showing a huge plume of black smoke rising into a cloudy sky that depicts the burning of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

The burning of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp by Doris Clare Zinkeisen, 1945. © Doris Zinkeisen’s estate. Photo, British Red Cross Museum and Archives.

Doris Zinkeisen was the first artist to enter the infamous Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp after it was liberated on 15 April 1945.

She would have witnessed the 13,000 unburied bodies and around 60,000 inmates, most acutely sick and starving.

As an artist, she had been commissioned to record what she saw for the British public. In those years before TV cameras and 24-hour news, people relied on photographs and paintings to illustrate what war was really like.

More

From Corby to Mozambique: behind the scenes at the Red Cross after Cyclone Idai

By

What images does the news of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique conjure up for you?

Charity emergency teams giving out supplies to people who fled their homes? Aid workers with food for hungry children?

All of this does happen. But for every emergency worker on the ground, many more work behind the scenes.

Their role is vital in making sure all the emergency supplies and equipment get to the right place at the right time.

As a logistics officer based in the UK, Gemma Blakey’s job is crucial to relief operations.

A self-confessed spreadsheet lover, she uses her meticulous planning and organisational skills to spring into action.

“I immediately check our stock and start talking to colleagues about who is available to respond, and what information we are getting about the needs on the ground,” she said.

“Then we can decide how the British Red Cross can best support the people in crisis.”

Gemma was already getting ready to help just a day after Cyclone Idai hit southern Africa.

More

Emotional support in an emergency: top tips on how you can help

By
After an emergency, a young woman provides emotional support to comfort an older man as they both sit on a sofa and hold cups of tea

© John Eccles/British Red Cross

We can all imagine how hard it must be to deal with an emergency. A flood, fire or accident can change lives in minutes.

But do we think enough about the emotional impact?

It doesn’t just affect those who are hurt, see the emergency, or face damage to their homes or businesses.

The ripples can spread to relatives, neighbours and even entire communities, and last for months or years afterwards.

New British Red Cross research shows that emotional support for people affected by a crisis is crucial. It can feel as important as helping with essentials like food, clothes and a place to stay.

More

Cyclone Idai: meet the Red Cross volunteers saving lives and fighting cholera in Mozambique

By
In Mozambique, a woman and two young children sit on a blanket on the floor in an evacuation centre after Cyclone Idai

Amelia and her children were rescued from floods by a Red Cross volunteer

Life changed for everyone in Beira, Mozambique, after Cyclone Idai tore through the city. The resulting floods and destruction is worse than anyone can remember.

Latest reports say that the cyclone affected 1.85 million people – the number living in Birmingham and Liverpool combined.

Thousands of people lost their homes and Red Cross volunteers were no exception.

But despite their personal tragedies, volunteers started to help immediately.

More