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Children's festival in Lebanon

At the end of March, the Child Festival 2001 took place in Lebanon under the auspices of its First Lady, Andrée Lahoud. More than 7,000 children participated in the event arranged by the Lebanese Red Cross youth department and 25 youth centres based throughout the country.

Children were given information on the Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, humanitarian values, mine awareness, road safety and protection of the environment. A 'theatre' showed the founding of the Movement on the battlefield of Solferino. The children also learned to read road signs and how to avoid home accidents. All the activities were interactive enabling the children to learn and have fun. The 500 volunteer youth members were exhausted but delighted once the festival was over. The two-day experience strengthened their belief that through educating children Lebanon can ensure a peaceful future for itself.

Apocalypse now

As part of the celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the first Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to Henry Dunant and the French pacifist Frédéric Passy, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva presents Apocalypse 01, an exhibition on the apocalyptic prophesies of the Red Cross founder. During the last years of his life, which were devoted to religious activity and meditation, Henry Dunant became fascinated by the book of Daniel and the Apocalypse. Believing the end of the world was imminent, from 1887 Dunant drew four diagrams demonstrating his prophetic view of history. Recently restored, the four sizeable works (110 x 80 cm) provide a precious insight into this little-known aspect of Dunant.

Twenty years after - A Khmer story

Auv Chap Say (a Cambodian national) and his wife were forcefully recruited to work for the Khmer Rouge in 1978, leaving behind their daughter Chan and their niece Choeun in Kampot province. In 1979, when the Vietnamese took over Cambodia, Mr. Say's residence was requisitioned and the girls were forced to leave. Nobody knew where they had gone.

Years later, in 1997, Mr. Say for the first time learned through somebody in Australia that his niece had been seen working in a market in Cambodia in 1995. So, in March 2000, he launched a tracing request with the Australian Red Cross in order to search for his daughter and niece. The case was sent to the ICRC regional delegation for east Asia in Bangkok where all tracing requests related to the Cambodian conflict are centralized. Since the ICRC had no record of the girls' whereabouts, the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) was requested to carry out a further search in Cambodia. With the help of the CRC's experienced tracing team in the field, the girls were finally located in Kampong Speu Pprovince in August 2000. The father received the good news with tears, and the mother was speechless. The parents, who have four sons in Australia, had believed their only daughter lost forever. In November - after a long separation of over twenty years - a surprise family reunion was organized by the CRC, without the daughter and her two children knowing beforehand, following the father's special wish.

Armed clashes

Following the eruption of violence in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in March 2001, the ICRC reacted immediately in favour of the over 22,000 displaced persons with the assistance of the National Society and the Federation. The ICRC also provided medical help to the hospital in Tetovo, the second largest city in the country and the area most affected by the clashes. Food aid was also distributed to isolated villages above Tetovo that were caught up in the fighting.

Since violence broke out again in early May, ICRC teams have been able to regularly access villages in the Kumanovo area to evacuate civilians and wounded persons during ceasefires. Emergency aid was brought into the villages as well as medical help for the health structures. The ICRC was also able to access or exchange Red Cross messages with persons captured by ethnic Albanian armed groups.


Mozambique battles floods again

The Mozambique Red Cross has again been in the front line against a devastating disaster as floods wreaked havoc for the second consecutive year.

In its second major relief operation in 12 months, the National Society distributed emergency supplies, such as tents, plastic sheeting and water sanitation equipment, to thousands of vulnerable people in affected areas. "For two years running we have been battling the flood waters and this year we have had to bring in an emergency water purification unit to meet the needs of people living in camps," said Federation regional water and sanitation coordinator Robert Fraser. In the midst of this major emergency response and despite the extreme difficulties in many areas, the Mozambique Red Cross has continued vital work on disaster preparedness. Along with other National Societies in flood-hit southern Africa, new volunteers have been trained, relief supplies pre-positioned and contingency plans revised.

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