In the north-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, the epicentre of fighting between Boko Haram and the Nigerian army, the scale of humanitarian needs and the horrific mental scars and physical injuries the violence is leaving on the population are appalling. “Whole communities have fled their villages and endured unimaginable suffering,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer during a recent visit. An estimated 1.5 million people have been displaced, mostly within Nigeria itself. The ICRC has distributed emergency food and essential household items to nearly 260,000 people in north-east Nigeria and 65,000 people in neighbouring Niger. It is also appealing for an additional US$ 60 million while the IFRC has launched an emergency appeal for US$ 2.8 million aimed at providing livelihood and psychosocial support, healthcare, household items and access to clean water to 150,000 people.

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It’s the stuff of science fiction: machines that make decisions about who and when to kill. Referred to as “autonomous weapons”, they’re already in use to some degree. But as more sophisticated systems are being developed we wanted to an expert in the field about whether such systems comply with international humanitarian law and what it means for humanity to give machines the power over human life and death.

‘Wildfire diaries’ and radical change in communications

In this episode, we talk with humanitarian communicator Kathy Mueller who produced our first magazine podcast series, The Wildfire Diaries, about massive wildfires in Northern Canada in 2017. We talk about that series, her many international missions, and the big changes in humanitarian communications since she began with the Canadian Red Cross almost 20 years ago.

The power of storytelling

In this episode, we talk about the power of storytelling to inform and inspire. “Storytelling is a fundamental aspect of human communication,” says our guest Prodip, a volunteer and multi-media storyteller for the Bangladesh Red Crescent. “It inspires us to be a hero of our own community.” We also speak with one such community hero, Dalal al-Taji, a longtime volunteer and advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities in emergencies response. “In disasters. persons with disabilities sometimes get forgotten.”

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A brave new magazine

Editorial: An inside look at the changes ahead for Red Cross Red Crescent magazine

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