After the storm: how the Red Cross is helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon

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Red Cross workers carry someone on a stretcher through the snow in Lebanon

Winter, Aarsal in Lebanon © Lebanese Red Cross

I have just come back from Lebanon and have seen first-hand how Syrian refugees there are struggling.

More than a million Syrians refugees now live in Lebanon. You may have seen in the news that harsh winter weather has hit them hard.

Vulnerable families are picking up the pieces after a storm drenched the tents in which many Syrians now live. Heavy snow and floodwaters and have damaged hundreds of makeshift camps.

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Teachers and children feel the power of kindness in school

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“When you are kind to someone it feels really good because you are passing on how you feel to someone else. So, they then pass it around and then everyone has a really happy feeling.”

These words, from a pupil at Sudbourne Primary School in London, show how kindness can transform our experience of everyday life.

The children at Sudbourne are among tens of thousands of children learning about kindness through a free British Red Cross teaching resource.

Sharing the power of kindness is at the root of our work. Many schools also see kindness as an important value for children to learn so they are excited to be part of this new initiative.

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First aid for burns

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Friends and family gather for a bonfire, fireworks and sparklers

Enjoying some fireworks?

It’s a lot of fun when friends and family gather to ‘Ooo’ and ‘Ahh’ at the night sky. Firework after firework can light up the darkness with an almighty bang.

Whether you’re having your own party, attending a friend’s or off to a display, there’s a common risk that comes from celebrating with fireworks – burns.

But have no fear. We’ve got some top advice for helping someone with a burn.

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Hundreds killed in Indonesia tsunami: Red Cross helps immediately

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Red Cross ambulance teams help a woman on a stretcher after the Indonesia tsunami

For the second time in three months, a deadly tsunami has hit Indonesia.

After dark on 22 December, a tsunami wave ploughed into the Indonesian island of Java.

At least 222 people have been killed. More than 840 are injured and 28 are missing. Sadly, these numbers are expected to rise.

Banten on Java was one of the worst affected areas and its seaside district of Pandeglang was crowded with holiday tourists when the tsunami hit.

Over 550 houses, 350 boats and nine hotels were badly damaged.

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“We want to learn about refugees”: opening students’ minds and hearts

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“It is important to learn about refugees because people don’t really know about it and they start making assumptions,” said Alesia, a student Park High School in Stanmore.

Alesia and her class recently took part in a lesson using the British Red Cross Refugee Week teaching resource.

When young people hear news reports about refugees, they can sometimes be hard to understand. People may find it hard to empathise with what refugees are going through.

But teaching young people about refugees in the safe environment of school can really open their minds and emotions.

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Fighting Ebola in a conflict zone

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This blog was updated on 15 May 2019

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a Red Cross volunteer wearing surgical scrubs helps another volunteer get dressed in a protective suit that covers his whole body and eyes to avoid Ebola

Protective clothing for safe burial, © Baron Nkoy/ICRC

Your country is at war and has been for years. And there are not just two armies fighting, but instead around 30 armed groups.

Anywhere and everywhere can be a battlefield and nobody knows when the next round of violence will break out.

They don’t just attack each other – kidnappings, random shootings and sexual assaults are common.

Then people start to die from a disease you’ve never seen or heard of before.

People suddenly arrive from other towns, or even other countries and continents.

They tell you to change how you have always done things so you and your family won’t get ill. But you don’t know if what they are saying is true.

Even the name they use for this mystery disease is new to you: Ebola.

Yet it has already taken more than 1,000 people’s lives in your area.

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Terry made life worth living again

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Ken sits next to British Red Cross volunteer Terry, who helps support people in his community, and both are laughing

Ken and Terry, © British Red Cross

“I wouldn’t have cared if I lived or died,” said Ken, 92.

Ken was heartbroken when his wife Ann died after over 60 years of marriage.

Sadly, Ann had developed dementia and Ken was caring for her at home. But in January, Ken was in a car accident and had to spend several months in hospital.

Injuries to his neck and ankle meant he couldn’t walk or move around as well as he used to.

Then, while he was in hospital, Ann passed away. Ken returned alone to the home they once shared.

“It was a very, very sad time,” he said. “I couldn’t see the point.”

“But that was when I met this bright chap, Terry.”

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Yemen crisis: “this is reality”

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In Yemen, a man and woman sit on small boxes in a courtyard littered with debris while they watch their young granddaughter sleep on cardboard boxes on the ground

Yemen: grandparents with their sleeping granddaughter © ICRC / Abduljabbar Zeyad

“Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. It’s not just in the media. It’s reality.”

These words from Indra Adhikari in Yemen struck me to the core.

Through one of modern technology’s miracles, Indra, his two colleagues and I spoke from my home and his office.

Suddenly, via a crackling computer audio link, this crisis was no longer half a world away. It was in my living room.

Right now, after more than three years of conflict, people in Yemen could be at risk of facing the worst famine the world has seen in 100 years, according to the UN.

And an average of 75 people are killed or injured every day.

Nearly every child, woman and man in Yemen is affected.

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