This Week in Restoring Family Links

Yemen is currently considered the largest single humanitarian crisis in the world. More than 18 million people are currently reliant on aid with more than 300,000 suspected to be infected with cholera.

Mosul, Iraq was recently liberated by the Iraqi government from IS but while this may be a momentary win, the civilians in this area are still unsafe. Those stuck inside the city lack access to food, water, and medical care. IS’s hold on the region may be nearing an end but the humanitarian crisis is not.

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Your Phone is now a Refugee's Phone

Your Phone is now a Refugee's Phone

Hundreds of thousands of refugees continue to flee conflict and political instability in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Many times, one of the only items they carry with them, their only safety net, is their phone. Phones provide access to information and connection to loved ones. Learn just how important these phones can be by watching the following video (best viewed from a mobile device).

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This Week in Restoring Family Links: 07/04/2016 - 07/08/2016

This Week in Restoring Family Links: 07/04/2016 - 07/08/2016

Iraq: On July 3rd, in central Baghdad, Iraq, at least 250 people lost their lives and at least 175 were wounded due to a massive suicide bombing – the deadliest one in the country since 2003. The bomb detonated in Karada. As a result, the interior minister Mohammed al-Ghabban offered to resign, and a group of protestors matched from Karada to Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s house to express their anger over the failures of the security forces – which are under army, federal, and local police. Ghabban claimed that the lack of unity of these forces have led to the fact that explosive materials got passed the security checkpoints and entered crowded civilian areas.  

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This Week in Restoring Family Links News 4/4/2016 - 4/8/2016

This Week in Restoring Family Links News 4/4/2016 - 4/8/2016

On Monday, the world observed the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. On December 8, 2005, the United Nations General Assembly declared that the day would be observed on April 4th of every year, with the intention of calling on states to help establish and develop anti-mine technology and capacities in countries where they are still an everyday threat. At the time, an estimated 15,000-20,000 adults and children were killed or severely injured every year from mines which remained in the ground. 

Since the signing of the 1997 Ottawa Treaty by 162, this figure has decreased dramatically to about 3,500 per year killed or severely injured by mines. Production and transference of mines has been nearly eliminated, and 48 non-state armed groups across the world have pledged against using mines as well. 

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Celebrating World Refugee Day in Chicago, Part 2

Story by Michelle McSweeney, SAF and International Services Manager, Chicago, IL

Foster Beach, June 20th 2015

On Saturday June 20th, the American Red Cross of Chicago and Northern Illinois continued our World Refugee Day celebrations with our annual Soccer Tournament and Potluck event at Foster Beach Soccer Fields located in Uptown, Chicago.

The tournament kicked off at 9am in the morning, where 8 teams competed for the Championship, and home pride. Teams represented communities from Iraq, Karen (Burma), Chin (Burma), Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, and Ethiopia.

 Red Cross staff and volunteers promote the organization's reconnecting families services.

Red Cross staff and volunteers promote the organization's reconnecting families services.

Alongside watching the soccer games, there were a variety of youth activities including kite-building and flying, face painting, finger painting and more. Attendees also had fun at the flower potting station, and many stopped by the advocacy table to sign up for voter registration, and sign petitions for fair housing for refugees. Then they headed over to the food station where cuisine from Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq, India, and Burma covered the tables and drew lines around the park!

 Event attendees join the dance.

Event attendees join the dance.

Following lunch, it was dance time! Performers from After School Matters, Living Water Church, and the Burmese Youth Dance Group helped continue the festivities and fun throughout the afternoon.

The Red Cross had our own booth as well, where we were able to provide 136 free emergency first aid kits to refugee families. We shared Restoring Family Links keychains and information in multiple languages about how the Red Cross helps reconnect separated families. And while our health services team was there, they fortunately did not have many injuries to attend to!

 A representative from ICNA speaks about the importance of supporting refugees.

A representative from ICNA speaks about the importance of supporting refugees.

At the height of the event, we all took a few minutes away from celebration and soccer to reflect on the reason we all came together that day, and to recognize those who are observing Ramadan. Our partner from the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) USA spoke to the crowd on how “Ramadan teaches us all to remember how many around the world go without, and that service to others, no matter how small, can make the largest impact on someone else’s life.”

 The winning team: United Star (Liberia)

The winning team: United Star (Liberia)

It was a wonderful day of family, celebration and recognition. Oh and who won the tournament? United Star (Liberia) of course!