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New National Society in South Sudan

With South Sudan gaining its independence at the beginning of July, the southern part of the Sudanese Red Crescent separated to form a new National Society, the South Sudan Red Cross.

Just as the new country faces many challenges to its development, with limited infrastructure for health services, the new National Society also needs to establish itself.

Many of the volunteers who have already signed up joined in the National Society’s first official act — first-aid assistance during the independence celebrations. With sweltering temperatures, the volunteers attended to hundreds of people who fainted due to sunstroke or dehydration.

“We’re looking forward to becoming a really well-functioning National Society,” says volunteer Latio Kudus Clement, who served as branch manager for the Sudanese Red Crescent in Juba, South Sudan’s largest city and the headquarters for the new National Society. “At the moment, we lack people and expertise. But it will come.”


Photo: ©Conor Ashleigh/IFRC


1.5 million affected by Bangladesh floods

Bangladesh was battered by storms and floods in August and September, with approximately 1.5 million people affected. Families and individuals have had their homes devastated, forcing them to seek out alternative, ad-hoc accommodation. “What are we to do?” asks Tuhin, a local schoolteacher. “Every single house was flooded. There are hundreds of us forced to the edge of the roadside. We need help!”

More than 1,100 homes in these villages were either destroyed or heavily damaged and, with so much stagnant water, the risk of disease is high. At an evacuation centre in the village of Shener Ghati, a man named Fazular tells a familiar story: “I came here 20 days ago with my wife and three children,” he says. “My home was totally destroyed. All is gone, all is gone.”

The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, with support from an IFRC appeal and emergency funds, has provided a wide range of assistance, from medical care to food, water, cash grants and provisional shelter.

 




Women in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province inspect their cotton crops after the region was hit hard by monsoon rains that started in August, affecting more than 5.3 million people. The Pakistan Red Crescent Society, the IFRC and other Movement actors responded by providing food, shelter, sanitation and medical assistance.
Photo: ©Olivier Matthys/ IFRC/PRCS

 

 

 


 

Volunteer gives life to save others

By the dim light of his torch, 32-year-old Han Sun Il could just see the two children hanging out of the window. The children were crying and desperately shouting for help as flood waters rose around their home during floods that ravaged the area in late July.

Seeing that the house could be washed away at any moment, the volunteer for the Red Cross Society of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea jumped into the swirling water to rescue the children.

After just managing to get the 3-year-old girl from the half-destroyed house — one of many that succumbed to floods in South Hwanghae province this summer — he returned to fetch the 11-year-old boy.

But the water was running deeper and faster. Stumbling, falling and being carried away by the churning stream, he reached the house across the stormy water. On the way back, the water rose almost to his chest and he struggled for another 30 minutes to get to shore.

After pushing the boy to land, the exhausted volunteer was swept away. “I don’t feel as though Han has departed from us. He will be forever in the heart of my family and neighbours,” said Ji Yon Ok, the children’s mother. “From now on, his daughter is my daughter. My husband and I will become Red Cross volunteers to help other people.”

 

Movement deplores killing of Syrian Red Crescent first-aider

The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement called for greater protection of health care workers after it learned of the death of Hakam Sibai, who was killed when the Red Crescent ambulance he was riding in was struck by 31 bullets in the city of Homs on 7 September.

The incident took place while Sibai and two other Red Crescent volunteers were on duty taking an injured person to hospital. The two other Syrian Red Crescent volunteers were badly wounded in the incident.  Volunteers and staff of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been providing critical humanitarian assistance in recent months, including in the remotest areas of Syria.

The ICRC and IFRC “join together in calling all those involved in the violence to strictly respect and facilitate the work of the Red Crescent staff and volunteers at all times in order to enable them to carry out their urgent humanitarian mission in an impartial manner”, according to a joint statement

 

Quotes of note

 

“Our new Red Cross
is born to shine in the
heart of Africa, let’s
work for humanity.”

Excerpt from the new
anthem of the South
Sudan Red Cross, sung
during independence c
elebrations to mark
the birth of the
Republic of
South Sudan.

 



Norwegian Red Cross mobilized after
deadly shootings

In the wake of mass shootings on the small island of Utøya, in Norway, volunteers from the Norwegian Red Cross helped in search-and-rescue operations and supported both relatives of those affected and young people across the country. “The youths and their relatives, friends and everyone around them have been through an experience in the last few days that is impossible for the rest of us to comprehend,” said Sven Mollekleiv, president of the Norwegian Red Cross.

 


Humanitarian index

4: Number of Libyan Red Crescent volunteers killed in the last six months
30: Percentage of population malnourished in drought affected areas in the Horn of Africa
35: Epidemics of cholera, polio, meningitis, yellow fever and other communicable diseases responded to by Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies in 2010*
50,000
: People on Colombia’s registry of missing persons**
281,453: People living with HI V and orphans who received psychosocial support by Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies during 2010*
440,000: Approximate population of Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp near the Somali border

Sources: *IF RC/Health in numbers **ICRC


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