In 2017 the world faced a series of devastating humanitarian emergencies, not least here in the UK - making it one of the most demanding years for the British Red Cross since WWII. Here’s a look back at 2017 in numbers
9m – people in the UK reported as always or often lonely
200 – tonnes of donated clothes, blankets, toiletries and essential items by members of the public following the Grenfell Tower Fire
24.1m – people facing food shortages in East Africa (across Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and South Sudan)
New publication launched: Local Humanitarian Action in Practice – Case Studies and Reflections of Local Humanitarian Actors
By Matthew Carter • Oct 23, 2017
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.
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.
A nutritious bowl of porridge is something the pupils at Mabhiza School enjoy every morning – but just six months ago this wasn’t possible.
By Matthew Carter
The Caribbean is beginning to pick up the pieces after the recent hurricanes. David Dalgado, on the British Virgin Islands, explains what the Red Cross is doing to help.
By Diana Shaw
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.
By Sam Smith
Hurricanes Irma and Maria have brought widespread destruction to the Caribbean. Trevor Queeley, from the Anguilla Red Cross, says Maria is delaying the aid effort, but his teams are eager to get back to helping people.
Hurricane Maria is battering our shores, less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma brought devastation to Anguilla. As I write this, people are sheltering from powerful winds and tropical storm conditions.
In the pouring monsoon rain, a family trudges through the mud on a journey that could be the difference between life and death.
This is the border between Myanmar, also known as Burma, and Bangladesh.
In recent weeks, thousands of people have fled their homes in Myanmar with almost no possessions and entered a country in the grip of terrible floods.
Many more remain stranded in border areas without food, water or shelter.
By Diana Shaw
The worst monsoon floods in decades have claimed thousands of lives and continue to devastate communities across South Asia.
More than 41 million people across Nepal, India and Bangladesh have been affected. An area roughly the size of the UK is under water.
“I was screaming ‘the flood is coming’ and we started running,” said Kalawati Rishidevi, a grandmother from Nepal.
“The flood carried us away. I handed my grandson to his mother and after that everybody started running, together with their loved ones.
By Diana Shaw
They are among the 205,000 people that the UN estimates have recently fled Raqqa governorate and now live in extremely basic camps in the desert.
I have worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Syria for over a year and have seen and heard a lot.
But what I saw in the camps around Raqqa shocked me profoundly.
People have already gone through immense suffering just to get to the camps that lie dozens of kilometres outside the city.
New PS Centre material: Psychosocial Support in Flooding
“By some miracle, the conservatory wasn’t badly damaged. The first thing we did was to clean it up. We put in a space heater, some nice furniture and cosy lightning. Then, amidst all the chaos, filth and uncertainty, we had a sanctuary. It was a place to be and for the neighbours to come together.”
So tells a Danish man whose community was completely flooded after a levee broke during a storm.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal raised over £95 million in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, and allocated approximately £6.4 million to British Red Cross. Of this, British Red Cross spent £1.8 million during the initial emergency response and the remaining £4.6 million during the recovery.
This evaluation looks at the DEC–funded parts of the recovery programme which focussed mainly on shelter and livelihoods assistance.
BRC generally accepts all the recommendations presented by the evaluators.
Regarding Recommendation 1, and the “establishment of international roster of livelihoods, infrastructure and governance experts to help identify an on-going source of appropriate human resources”, BRC notes that it did have existing registers, but its members were either unavailable or lacked the skillset that the urban context required.
In 2015, models by metrological agencies globally, including the Kenya Metrological Department (KMED), predicted a 90% probability of El Niño conditions1 during the "short rains" of the October, November, December (OND) season. The forecasts predicted above average rainfall in parts of Kenya and an approximate 80% chance of the El Niño conditions lasting into early 2016. The impacts were expected to vary geographically, with some areas experiencing seasonal flooding and others experiencing just good rainfall for agricultural production.
Few kind words have been written about El Niño – that dreaded bearer of floods and droughts. Yet a bit of planning and investment has seen communities in Kenya benefit from the weather phenomenon, as Sarah Barr from our international team explains.
The semi-arid landscape of Kitui County hides no secrets. Droughts in the dry season, floods during the rainy season, it’s little wonder that farmers face such difficulty growing crops in a climate that fluctuates so wildly.
Ist June 2016
Thousands of malnourished mothers and babies in Yemen will benefit from essential health services thanks to funding from the British Red Cross and the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission.
Nutritious food will also be provided by the government ministry of health and Unicef.
This new grant will pay for a reproductive health unit to open at a health centre in Hajjah, one of Yemen’s poorest regions. The Red Cross has supported the centre since December 2015.
On Sunday 20 March, His Royal Highness Prince Harry visited the Nepal Red Cross Society in Bhaktapur, where earthquakes caused havoc in 2015.
This was one of the first stops on the Prince’s tour of Nepal almost one year after two massive earthquakes last April and May. The earthquakes killed over 8,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
A garland for the Prince
Prince Harry spent time with staff and volunteers from the Nepal Red Cross Society, including those who were involved in the immediate response after the earthquake.
No, that’s not a typo. It’s a rather dramatic weather event.
People in Mongolia are used to harsh winters. But this year the winter is even worse than usual: the country is in the grip of a ‘dzud’ (pronounced zood) – a hot, dry summer followed by a freezing, windy and snowy winter.
Temperatures average lower than -40° Celsius at night. Can you imagine?
Record number of UK asylum seekers destitute
More than 9,000 asylum seekers were left destitute last year, according to new figures from the British Red Cross.
The charity has seen a 15 per cent increase in the number of asylum seekers using its services, who do not have adequate access to food, accommodation and healthcare.
“Ebola was an unknown disease for Sierra Leoneans. When it came to our country, people didn’t believe it was Ebola.”
Abu Bakarr Tarawallie cuts the look of a weary man. It would be an understatement to say that the last 18 months have been challenging for him and his Sierra Leone Red Cross colleagues.
hey know they are close to ridding their country of Ebola. But equally, they know that the disease has halted the green shoots of development in post-war Sierra Leone.
“We had so many goals for our country, some of which were very ambitious,” he says.