Volunteers respond to Gabon election violence

Intensive preparation before recent elections helped the Gabonese Red Cross Society respond to election-related violence that reportedly left 15 people dead and more than 100 injured. As part of a contingency plan developed by the National Society, 110 volunteers were deployed nationwide to provide assistance to the injured. IFRC emergency funds also supported pre-election training and simulation exercises for 2,000 volunteers and civil protection staff. Dielvic Mbadinga, 31, a member of the National Disaster Response Team, was one of them. “Though we are faced with regular stops at barricades during our interventions, I keep calm and remain focused,” he explained. “Each time we are stopped… we explain our mission and the assistance we are providing to communities.”

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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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The wildfire diaries

As the scale and frequency of fires hitting the Canadian province of British Columbia increases — in part due to climate change — the lives of local people are changing dramatically. Hear their stories.

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