World Water Day: Keeping Communities Safe from Drought and Zika

World Water Day: Keeping Communities Safe from Drought and Zika

Red Cross volunteers in the Americas are working hard to ensure that household water tanks – which are used to help communities cope with droughts related to El Niño – do not become breeding grounds for the mosquito that spreads the Zika virus.

Globally, more than 60 million people have been affected by droughts related to El Niño, which have affected agricultural production and damaged food security. Some countries in the Dry Corridor of Central America have been forced to declare a state of national emergency, with responses focused on water provision and the rehabilitation of supply systems.

However, the solution to one crisis – the drought – could worsen the ongoing Zika public health emergency, so the Red Cross is taking action in communities across the Americas to raise awareness of good practices in water, sanitation, and disease prevention.

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This Week in Restoring Family Links News 2/15/2016 - 2/19/2016

This Week in Restoring Family Links News 2/15/2016 - 2/19/2016

On Wednesday, the Pope completed a six-day trip to Mexico by praying at the U.S.-Mexico border in the city of Ciudad Juarez. Before celebrating mass at a fairground, the Pontifex paid a visit to the border fence to pray for those who lost their lives on the perilous journey North, alongside a giant metal cross meant to commemorate them.  In attendance were tens of thousands, many of whom crossed the border from El Paso, Texas to hear the Pope speak. 

During his homily, he called for those listening to have open hearts and recognize the exploitation that drives many to flee their homelands. "We cannot deny the humanitarian crisis" the pope stated, in reference to the thousands of migrants who "are being expelled by poverty and violence, drug trafficking and organized crime". The city of Ciudad Juarez is a pivotal crossing for those trying to reach the United States, and has recently been plagued by drug and migration-related violence. The pope offered words of inspiration to youth to avoid drug trafficking, and took a swipe at Mexico's powerful and corrupt: "the flow of capital cannot decide the flow of people".

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This Week in Restoring Family Links News 1/11/16 — 11/15/16

This Week in Restoring Family Links News 1/11/16 — 11/15/16

This past Monday, long-awaited relief finally came to Madaya, a remote Syrian town on the outskirts of Damascus where more than two dozen people have starved in the past two weeks as a result of humanitarian blocking from pro-government forces. The last time Madaya received any form of aid was October 18, driving residents into such desperation that many have been trying to survive off of grass, leaves, and boiled water.   Madaya has garnered an immense international response, with many prominent figures speaking out about the state of horror there. UN Secratary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Thursday called the use of starvation as a weapon a "war crime", and relayed reports from UN teams that the residents of Madaya were "little more than skin and bones: gaunt, severely malnourished, so weak they could barely walk"

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Restoring Family Links Photo Contest

This year, the Restoring Family Links program held a photo contest to better share the reconnecting families work of the American Red Cross. These photos help tell the story of Restoring Family Links - from the day to day outreach and casework of volunteers and staff across the nation, to helping families reconnect and communicate through Red Cross Messages, to providing documentation to Iraqi refugees to help them receive reparations. While just a momentary glimpse, they also share the joy of being able to communicate with family, the relief that comes from knowing the safety and well-being of loved ones.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest. The photos below were selected for special recognition. As a thank you for sharing their local reconnecting families work, each chapter that submitted a winning photo will receive a framed copy. Thank you to everyone who helps support and grow the Restoring Family Links program locally and nationally. Enjoy the photos!

 Amber Bierfreund/American Red Cross - Khadra Farah receives a Red Cross Message from a sister she hasn't seen in 20 years.

Amber Bierfreund/American Red Cross - Khadra Farah receives a Red Cross Message from a sister she hasn't seen in 20 years.

 Norma Cavazos/American Red Cross RFL Advocate - This man from Honduras arrived in the US in early February. Thanks to an American Red Cross phone call project, he is able to call his family and let them know that he is safe and well. After making contact with his family, he thanks volunteers, MC Thomas and Alicia Ybarra, for the help of the Red Cross.

Norma Cavazos/American Red Cross RFL Advocate - This man from Honduras arrived in the US in early February. Thanks to an American Red Cross phone call project, he is able to call his family and let them know that he is safe and well. After making contact with his family, he thanks volunteers, MC Thomas and Alicia Ybarra, for the help of the Red Cross.

 Kenneth Allen/American Red Cross Operations Director - A very grateful client receives his International Committee of the Red Cross Registration Record at the National Capital Region Headquarters office.

Kenneth Allen/American Red Cross Operations Director - A very grateful client receives his International Committee of the Red Cross Registration Record at the National Capital Region Headquarters office.

Every year, the American Red Cross along with other Red Cross Red Crescent Societies around the globe help reconnect thousands of families separated by conflict, disaster, migration, and other humanitarian emergencies. To learn more about this service and to begin your search today, please visit www.redcross.org/reconnectingfamilies.

This Week in Restoring Family Links News 02/07/2015 - 02/13/2015

Do you follow @intlfamilylinks (Restoring Family Links’ account) on Twitter? See an interesting article but just don’t have the time to read it? “This Week in RFL News” is a weekly blog segment that highlights and summarizes some of the news items posted by RFL’s twitter.

South Sudan: This week, I tweeted the following:

Now, I know that I have been guilty of (over) reporting on violence in South Sudan versus focusing on the work of organizations and individuals to fight for peace, but after this week’s ceasefire agreement, I found it especially egregious the number of news stories that immediately jumped on the possibility of its failure. While I think it is important to draw the attention of the international community to on-going crises, I think there is a way to do so without rewarding violence. This stems from the idea that there is such a thing as peace journalism versus war journalism, which can have an effect on conflict management and resolution.

So with that said, I’m going to share some of the positive news coming out of South Sudan. The United Nations Children’s Fund this week celebrated the continued demobilization and release of children from armed groups in South Sudan. While education has been interrupted in many places across the country, ensuring children are not participating in the violence, but rather are learning in school, whether in their own community, a camp for the displaced, or a refugee camp, is vital for helping South Sudan avoid having a “lost” generation.

The Legacy of Holocaust Survivors: As the community of Holocaust survivors becomes fewer, it is as important as ever to share their stories and ensure that the legacies of those who endured the Holocaust live on. Community partnerships and programs across the US and the globe are helping that take place from art and storytelling projects in Minnesota to partnerships between Holocaust education centers and other community organizations in Ohio. Sharing these legacies helps ensure that future generations know about the Holocaust and work to prevent similar atrocities. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights visited the US Holocaust Memorial Museum recently and said that all people “must learn” from this event.

“If we have learned anything from our collective history, it is this: scrambling only for ourselves, our people, our political or religious ideology, or for our own kind will only scramble it all – eventually, sometimes horrifyingly so – for everyone.” – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein.

The Red Cross continues its support to survivors of the Holocaust and their families by helping to reconnect them with their loved ones or providing them with information on the fate of their family. This week, we shared a story from the Colorado and Wyoming Red Cross where a family was connected to a chapter of a family member’s life they never knew about.

US Immigration Policy and Child Migrants: Since the Obama administration released a proposed budget increasing aid to Central American nations, there has been much debate about how to shape US immigration policy, especially concerning the Central American nations of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. A recent policy change allows children in need of international protection to apply for asylum in the US from their country of origin (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador only). The proposed budget would increase foreign aid to the three countries to improve border security, law enforcement, judicial processes, education, infrastructure, etc. It would also help bolster programs in which the US is already invested, such as helping vulnerable migrants returned to these countries from the US and Mexico. It is unclear whether the full proposed budget will be passed.