Contents 04 China Corona-virus pandemic changed the world 10 18 24 28 32 Congo Ebola epidemy crushed in the Northeastern part of the country Bosnia and Herze­govina The Bahamas Bleak refugee camp in the middle of Europe Hurricane Dorian destroyed the holiday paradise Nepal Malawi Volunteers save lives in mountain villages Small-scale farmers try to adjust to climate change Publisher: Finnish Red Cross, Tehtaankatu 1a, 00140 Helsinki, Finland www.redcross.fi. Producer and responsible editor: Pekka Reinikainen. Managing editor: Sanna Ra. Country data: FRC and Encyclopaedia Britannica Text: Johanna Arvo, Caroline Haga, Mika Jouhki, Hannu-Pekka Laiho, Johanna Korkeamäki, Tiina Leinonen, Eeva Matsuke, Maria Santto, Päivi Ängeslevä. Photography: Johanna Arvo, The Cambodian Red Cross, The Chinese Red Cross, Caroline Haga, Jarkko Mikkonen, Ville Palonen, Maria Santto, Benjamin Suomela, Päivi Ängeslevä. Layout: Carita Lehtniemi. Translations: Lingsoft Oy Place of printing: PunaMusta 2020 2 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 2 22.4.2020 13.30

Background photo: Sunset in Abaco, the ­Bahamas after hurricane Dorian Photo: Maria Santto 36 42 Zimbabwe Educa Drought crisis alleviation via food assistance Risk Zones learning platform supports long distance learning T he coronavirus pandemic highlights the strengths and weaknesses of healthcare systems around the world. It also underlines global health interdependencies. The ability of humanity to prevent the realisation of worldwide health risks requires the ability and willingness of all countries, including the least prepared countries, to co­operate seamlessly. Finland is committed to promoting the universal health coverage set as an objective by the UN, as well as promoting the sustainable development goals related to health. Health is one of the cross-cutting facilitators of sustainable development and a prerequisite for mobilising almost everything else. Primary healthcare affects society as a whole, which is why investing in it also through development cooperation is important for the realisation of other development objectives. Universal health coverage requires, in particular, functional primary healthcare, which requires extensive investments and training of professionals. One of the challenges of this work is the growing need for professionals in developing countries, which at worst increases the brain drain of healthcare in developing countries. Although the situation in Africa, for example, has improved slightly, the problem remains great. For example, South Africa has calculated that it has lost a 1.4-billion-dollar training investment due to doctors moving abroad for better wages. Medical training in the United States or Europe costs significantly more than the same training in a developing country. If a developed country hires a physician or nurse trained elsewhere, the savings are significant. From the perspective of a person who has received training in a developing country, getting a better salary is understandable. The losing party is the primary healthcare in developing countries. The volunteers of the Red Cross and Red Crescent currently form a central part of the cornerstone of universal health coverage. The movement’s volunteers help an average of 165 million people in need of assistance each year. They provide primary healthcare assistance to people who cannot access state-supported public healthcare services. During the pandemic caused by the coronavirus, the work of volunteers has a particularly important impact. The preparedness and learned operating methods created during normal times are emphasised in disaster and crisis situations. Volunteers can respond quickly to people’s needs and, if necessary, recruit new volunteers to support communities. The community’s trust in volunteer activities, created before the disaster, will help in the crisis to bring aid to the people and to receive information. Volunteers respond to the victims’ immediate needs while preparing for the post-crisis situation and community recovery. As I am writing this, the volunteers of the Red Cross movement are busy around the world in providing help in tasks related to the coronavirus. The Finnish Red Cross helps, for example, in health counselling, by providing psychological support, and by supporting public healthcare professionals when additional resources are needed. The volunteers will continue their work even after the pandemic, and will do their part so that, at the beginning of the next pandemic, we will be slightly more prepared than before, throughout the world. This is the core of the work of the Red Cross: To be present and ensure seamless cooperation between development cooperation and disaster relief for the benefit of the people. Kristiina Kumpula Secretary General Photo: Jarkko Mikkonen SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 3 Health is our common cause 22.4.2020 13.30

Photos: Johanna Arvo, Caroline Haga, Cambodian Red Cross, Chinese Red Cross/IFRC xxxxx 4 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 4 22.4.2020 13.30

Catastrophe called corona In December 2019, the Asia Pacific Regional Office of the International Union of the Red Cross and the Red ­Crescent, located in Kuala Lumpur, received the first messages that people in China have been affected by an unknown pneumonia-causing virus. By January, it became known that the pneumonia was a disease caused by a new type of coronavirus. Two aid workers report on their work in China at the beginning of the corona ­pandemic (COVID-19) in spring 2020. CAROLINE HAGA, Communications and Media ­Coordinator, Far East Office of the International Federation of the Red Cross, Beijing: EARLY FEBRUARY 2020 I Cambodian Red Cross officer puts up a poster with corona prevention instructions. am walking towards our office at 8:00 a.m. The face mask feels sweaty and uncomfortably tight. During the fifteen-minute walk, I only see a couple of other pedestrians with their masks. On the adjacent six-lane road, which is one of the city’s main routes and leads to the Tiananmen Square, are only a few cars. I am in Beijing, a city of over 20 million inhabitants, on my first day as Communications and Media Coordinator. The Finnish Red Cross has sent me and my Finnish logistics colleague to support the Far East Office of the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (IFRC) during the coronavirus epidemic. The coronavirus situation in the city of Wuhan and, more broadly, in the province of Hubei, is catastrophic. Elsewhere in China, the situation is not worrying, but the authorities have urged the whole population to limit their movements as much as possible, and the guidelines are being followed. At the time, there were few infections in other countries in the Far East, although the situation in South Korea was predicted to deteriorate considerably. The Far East Office of the International Federation supports the national Red Cross Societies of China, South Korea, North Korea, Japan and Mongolia. My task is to support both these national societies and the IFRC in all their communication needs. The job description is versatile and that is why I like it so much. First, I contact the Red Cross Society of China and other national societies to ensure that they keep receiving the latest situational information and communication material from the 5 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 5 22.4.2020 13.30

In Wuhan, ­volunteer medical teams dispatched from Shanghai and Beijing taking care of the infected patients. At the quarantine hotel, room door sealed with tape and meals left outside. THE CORONAVIRUS ­SITUATION IN THE CITY OF ­WUHAN AND, MORE BROADLY, IN THE PROVINCE OF HUBEI, IS CATASTROPHIC. ELSEWHERE IN CHINA, THE SITUATION IS NOT WORRYING, BUT THE WHOLE POPULATION HAS BEEN URGED TO LIMIT THEIR MOVEMENTS. Johanna Arvo finally outdoors in Beijing. Officials in protective gear in Guangzhou airport during transit. 6 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 6 22.4.2020 13.30

field. Normally I would also try to interview and photograph the inhabitants and the volunteers of the Red Cross myself, but it is naturally not possible during this assignment. END OF FEBRUARY I concentrate primarily on China, because the situation is the worst there and we want to report more broadly on China’s massive aid work in combating the coronavirus. Among other things, the national society has acquired specialised ambulances and sent voluntary medical transport teams to Hubei to help with patient transport and first aid; financially supported hospital staff who have been infected with coronavirus; established crisis phone lines; and disseminated information and instructions in cities and villages. We publish information and images of activities in China and other countries on the IFRC’s social media channels and I also distribute all the materials to the communicators of the national societies worldwide. I also share situation reports every week and prepare press releases. We receive plenty of interview requests from the media, which I coordinate, and assist our specialists in preparing for the interviews. At the same time, I support national Red Cross Societies in their communications by offering them articles, useful social media materials, and tips for further developing their communications. After a long workday, I walk to the hotel, most often stopping by one of the food shops in the vicinity. I could also choose a dinner from the selection of two open pizzerias, but I have realized that you can get bored with even pizza. During the weekends, I take longer walks in the sunny winter weather. Face protection must be kept on at all times away from the office or hotel room. It is still sweaty, but one gets used to it, too. Just as one gets used to having one’s fever measured every day when going to breakfast, when leaving a hotel, when visiting an office, when going to a grocery store or restaurant, when returning to the hotel. EARLY MARCH When I leave the country three weeks later for Kuala Lumpur, the situation in Beijing is largely the same as when I arrived there, although cars and people are seen slightly more often on the streets. Still, it is difficult to imagine what it would look like on a normal working day in the city centre. I am convinced that I will see Beijing again, and perhaps even the famous cherry flowers in all their glory. Quarantined in China JOHANNA ARVO, Operations Coordinator, Asia Pacific Regional Office of the International Union of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, Kuala Lumpur: SUNDAY, 15 MARCH 2020 W hen it became clear that the new coronavirus was anything but an innocent influenza, our office in Kuala Lumpur understood that all available resources had to be invested in this. The logistics team surveyed the availability of medical supplies and made every effort to help the Red Cross Society of China acquire facial masks, protective overalls and gloves, and hand sanitizer. The operations team prepared the operational plan, funding, and internal preparedness of the office. We ended up working in two groups at the office, rotating every other week. I promised to go to Beijing to help with the practical aspects of the operation. I knew in advance I’d be quarantined for two weeks in China. I had already completed forms for health authorities and wearing protective equipment and had been interviewed during a layover in Guangzhou. But when I arrived in Beijing, no one had any idea where I should go because due to my transit I was on a domestic flight. Finally, I ended up staying overnight at the airport. TUESDAY, 17 MARCH The next morning, I was ordered to a quarantine hotel. The entire staff had dressed in protective gear and, in addition to the normal check-in, I once again filled out a health information form and my temperature was measured. I was given a menu for room service, a thermometer, and a list where I should record my temperature in the morning and in the afternoon. In the elevator lobby, myself and all my belongings were sprayed with disinfectant. In the corridor, room doors were marked with a red-and- yellow tape, and I knew my room would be sealed, too. I was about to enter 14 days of solitude, which made me feel a little nervous and even frightened at this point. China • Capital: Beijing • Area: 9,572,900 km² • Population:  1,397,364,000 • Population density: 144.6/km² FACT: China is still an agriculture-dominated country. Drought and floods afflict the population dependent on farming, and the lack of running drinking water makes life more difficult. In south-western China, in Guizhou, one of the poorest regions of the country, the conditions in rural villages have been improved with the support of the Finnish Red Cross. Additionally, after the Sichuan Earthquake Emergency Assistance Mission in 2008, disaster­-preparedness work with the Chinese Red Cross was further continued in the Fujian province. WEDNESDAY, 18 MARCH One of the walls of my room is a window, which allows me to observe the traffic on the street and the people passing by. I do miss having fresh air and a balcony. There is no room for such luxury right now, but luckily there’s a ventilation window. I thank God that I am this tall, because I can now reach the window standing on the tips of my toes on the edge of chair, and I can take a breath of the crisp spring air. During the day, the room warms up a lot as the sun bears down, and I wonder how we can get through this. I am sweating in a room where there’s no ventilation. It is not possible to get a cold drink because there is no refrigerator in the room. There is not much drinking water either. 7 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 7 22.4.2020 13.30

Of course, I have been on enough of these assignments that I knew to pack dry meat, soup packets, and other small snacks. THURSDAY, 19 MARCH After breakfast in the room, I open my work computer, and the working day begins. Although the East Asian office is focused on China, we also support the Mongolian Red Cross Society where the operation is just about to start. Other Red Cross Societies in the region, Japan and South Korea, are really strong players, so we provide them mainly with support for instructions and materials. I wake up to my reality occasionally when a scent of disinfectant drifts in from the corridor. The 2015 Ebola operation in Sierra Leone comes to mind, where eventually the scent of chlorine brought a sense of security. Strange premonitions and memories. In the afternoon, a colleague sends a message that there is a package coming to my way. Soon someone knocks on the door and, like an excited child on Christmas Eve, I run to check what I’ve received. Behind the door is a large cardboard box with a taped envelope on top. The box contains a refrigerator full of food! FRIDAY, 20 MARCH I was thinking about my friends’ advice that it would be good to stick to the routines even in quarantine. I ponder for a moment about putting on my work clothes and putting myself in working order, but eventually the day will be spent in pyjamas, as before. During the day, we map out the protection needs of the national societies in the area and translate the instructions of the operation into Chinese. The most challenging part is to consider how we can get personnel to meet the needs of the operation and what tasks could be done remotely. WEEKEND, 21–22 MARCH The quarantine and the anxiety are getting to me, no matter how much I try to fight back. I just want to cry. I think about how I would like to be in the arms of my own beloved husband and to have comforting words and, above all, intimacy. It comes to mind how similar my thinking is to the time I spent in the Ebola operation. That’s the first time I realised how important human contacts are. during which I tried to guide them with the mission plan and consider together further actions. In China, the situation is already easing, and Wuhan, the city from which the entire pandemic began, is getting great reprieve when the quarantine is being dismantled. MONDAY, 23 MARCH To keep my head together, I’ve planned various things to do. I’ve been talking to a friend on the phone, and I’ve spent an incredibly long time just staring at brainless videos on my mobile phone. A call to my husband and some exercising. I order food with the help of a Chinese colleague. I open the TV that I have been too tired to watch for a week. The reason for this is also clear – the only English-language channel offers only news, which are focusing on the coronavirus, of course. Telly off. I wake up pretty early, thinking about work. The operations plan for ­China is still under consideration by the national society and it is becoming more urgent. We also have a large equipment purchase (negative pressure ambulances) under works and its project agreement has been delayed. In addition, the Mongolian mission plan must be approved and progressed as soon as possible so that we can proceed with the allocation of funding. To add to all this, there is a staff review, reports, remote meetings on preparedness, and personnel well-being to consider. In the evening I call my friend and get to clear my mind. It is nice to hear how they are doing, and at the same time, I feel a bit annoyed that all everyone is talking about is the coronavirus. Now that it’s my job, it would be nice to talk about for example cats or the coming of spring. THURSDAY, 26 MARCH My supervisor from Kuala Lumpur sent another message today. He also has experience of similar situations from his own projects when he could not move outdoors, so he is able to sympathise with me. My colleagues from Malaysia have been super supportive and have sent out some more messages. It’s nice to have a team that cares. In the evening I am a guest at Radio Aalto, broadcasting from Turku, and I talk to a familiar reporter about the quarantine and the situation in China. FRIDAY, 27 MARCH I have the first video conference with the Red Cross Society of China, WEEKEND, 28–29 MARCH MONDAY, 30 MARCH It is late in the afternoon when the doorbell to my room rings. There’s someone standing in a protective suit. It turns out that I will be checked out tomorrow. I feel light-headed and suspect that there is a mistake. There isn’t. I’ll be out on Tuesday. I get to sign a bundle of papers. I really don’t know what I sign, but I’m glad I can get out. I call the office and ask them to verify the news. Yes, it is true. My colleague promises to arrange me a transport from the hotel. I’m so happy! TUESDAY, 31 MARCH THE LAST MORNING I work until my colleague rings he’s coming for me. It feels unreal and even a little scary at the same time. I’ve been safe here within four walls. No need for a face mask or constant hand washing. I realise that this has also been quite easy in some respects. I open the door, I take my camera out, and shoot a short video for myself. Finally, I’m walking out of the hotel. I can’t breathe fresh air through the mask, but the cool breeze feels nice on my face. ■ 8 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 8 22.4.2020 13.30

The final death toll of corona virus was not available by the time this magazine was printed but it is far from the deadliest pandemics in world history. HISTORY OF PANDEMICS 200M BLACK DEATH (BUBONIC PLAGUE) 56M 40–50M 1529 1918-1919 SMALLPOX 1347-1351 The plague originated in rats and spread to hu mans via infected fleas. The outbreak wiped out 30–50% of Europe’s population. It took more than 200 years for the continent’s population to recover. 30–50M SPANISH FLU 25-35M PLAGUE OF JUSTINIAN HIV/AIDS 1981 – 541-542 Smallpox killed an estimated 90% of Native Americans. In Europe during the 1800s, an estimated 400 000 people were being killed by smallpox annually. The The death toll of this plague is still under debate as new evidence is uncovered, but many think it may have helped hasten the fall of the Roman Empire. A series of Cholera outbreaks spread around the world in the 1800s killing millions of people. There is no solid consensus on death tolls. 12M 5M THIRD PLAGUE 1855 ANTONINE PLAGUE 165–180 600’ Metropolis Beijing is un­usually quiet. 18th CENTURY GREAT PLAGUES 1817–1923 3M 17th CENTURY GREAT PLAGUES 1665 200’ SWINE FLU 2009-2010 171’ 1,1M ASIAN FLU 1957–1958 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) 2019– 21.4.2020 1M RUSSIAN FLU 1889–1890 1M 100-150’ 11.3’ YELLOW FEVER late 1800 1M HONG KONG FLU 1968–1970 EBOLA 2014-2016 Figures show number of fatalities. Sources: CDC, WHO, BBC, Wikipedia, Éncyclopedia Britannica. Updated 21st April 2020 CHOLERA 6 OUTBREAK 1817–1923 850 MERS 2010– 1M JAPANESE SMALLPOX EPIDEMIC 735–737 770 SARS 2002–2003 Virusgraphics: Jussi Latvala, Juju Design A lonely traveller in the deserted capital of China FACE PROTECTION MUST BE KEPT ON AT ALL TIMES AWAY FROM THE OFFICE OR HOTEL ROOM. IT IS DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE WHAT IT WOULD LOOK LIKE ON A NORMAL WORKING DAY IN THE CITY CENTRE. 9 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 9 22.4.2020 13.30

Text: Maria Santto and Eeva Matsuke Photos: Maria Santto Democratic ­Republic of the Congo • Capital: Kinshasa • Area: 2,345,410 km² • Population: 98,590,000 • Population density: 40.5/km² FACT: The Congo is rich in natural resources, yet it is one of the poorest countries in the world. The long civil war officially ended in 2003, but the fighting has continued in the eastern Congo. After the war, millions of people lost their homes and continue to suffer from hunger and diseases, the most dangerous of which are measles, tuberculosis, sleeping sickness and HIV/AIDS. There is a huge shortage of doctors in the Congo, which makes the fight against disease more difficult. The Goma Safe and Dignified Burial Team has been informed of a 35-year-old woman who has died of unclear symptoms. Ebola once more The worst Ebola epidemic in the DRC ruptured in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri in August 2018. More than 3,300 people were diagnosed with Ebola, nearly 2,300 of whom died. This was the tenth Ebola epidemic in the Congo, but the first in the restless northeast of the country. Communications delegate Maria Santto spent two weeks in the outbreak epicentre in summer 2019. Midwife Eeva Matsuke worked in Goma as a liaison officer for four months in winter 2019–2020. 10 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 10 22.4.2020 13.30

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Maria Santto: All the safety risks culminate here, in the same area,” says the Head of Security of the International Committee of the Red Cross, in our briefing session. We are in the city of Goma, which is the center of the whole North Kivu ebola operation. In all honesty, I don’t quite internalise his words. My eyes gaze at a stack of papers and the letters on them. On top of the pile is a paper asking for emergency contact details of the person who will be notified in case of kidnapping or death. I don’t recall signing anything like this, even in Syria. In the middle of the briefing, I send my friend a message telling her that if she gets a call from a strange number, it might be because I put her name down on that paper I just signed. My friend answers immedi- ately and asks, worried, if am I safe. I tell her, not to worry, of course I am. Amidst all these potentially turbulent feelings, my brain is acting rationally. I’m not sure whether this is about my fatalistic attitude to life or because my mind is often clear and calm in extreme situations. In domestic conditions, the situation may be quite different. Having arrived later than the rest of the core Ebola team, I share the briefing with four other recent arrivals. We are a group of individuals, humanitarian aid workers unfamiliar to one another. We have very different jobs and most likely this is the only time our paths cross. I am also the only one going north to Beni, the current epicentre of this Ebola outbreak. Beni and Goma are part of the North Kivu region, which has long A member of the Goma Safe and Dignified Burial Team is getting ready to put on his protective suit. been a turbulent area. UN forces (MONUSCO) remain prominently present and visible. The area is rich in natural resources and the battle for minerals, oil, gold and precious stones has been bloody and going on for a long time. Approximately 60% of the world’s cobalt comes from the DRC. Cobalt, the modern-day gold, is present in the lithium batteries of mobile phones and in electric cars. “In Beni, you will receive another brief and additional local instructions. You are not allowed to move around anywhere alone or without a car,” continues the Head of Security. I know the protocols, and I know we often get more information, depending on the location, if we have to move inside the country. This is not my first journey to the heart of an epidemic. A few years back, I was 12 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 12 22.4.2020 13.30

photographing in Madagascar during the plague epidemic. I know how fear of an unknown, invisible illness feels. At worst, it’s paralysing. GOMA When I arrive at Goma Airport, I realise how different this situation is. Big water tanks with UN stickers on them stand by the entrance of Goma airport. They have a strong smell of chlorine, and they contain purified water, which quickly dries the hands bone-dry. The city of Goma stands decrepit yet proud on the shores of Lake Kivu. Its horizon is framed by an active volcano and Rwanda is within walking distance. Ebola has not yet arrived in Goma, so everyday life is still cautiously optimistic. Streets have random hand disinfectant points and buckets of water with The transparent window in the body bag is an invention of the Red Cross. It makes the volunteers’ work easier because family members see that the body has not been mutilated. soap on the side stand in front of shops and such. During the first days, the fear of Ebola is present everywhere. Every day we pass by checkpoints where the passengers in our car are given strongly perfumed hand sanitizer and temperature is taken from our temples. Little by little I notice how unreal becomes real and cautiousness becomes routine. I disinfect the handle areas of my camera every night, sometimes even during the day. I wash or disinfect my hands at least twenty times a day. The thermometer easily slips underarm. Midday in Goma is grey and moist. Our car drives through a poor, densely populated suburb along a bumpy road. I’ve had an unsettled stomach for days now, I’ve vomited, had diarrhoea, weakness and fever. Photographing has been challenging, days have been wasted, and they have been overshadowed by a frustrated awareness that I cannot do my job. The main purpose of my presence in the DRC is to create visibility. As our funding has gradually dried up it is more vital than ever to get the stories out. I have not been able to take a single photograph that would encourage those much-needed large donors to write cheques so that those in the core of the outbreak could keep fighting the spread of this deadly disease. Inevitably, I feel responsible. Having said that, it is quite clear that in the heat of the midday sun, sweat and the mild diarrhoea, I probably think a bit too highly of my capabilities. Along the road, next to the church, opens an area fenced off with plastic sheeting. We are with 13 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 13 22.4.2020 13.30

the team that takes care of burials of suspected Ebola victims, the Safe and Dignified Burial Team (SDB). When entering, first the hands are sanitized, then the soles of the shoes. The gravel area is separated into different sections, according to safety. There is a green, a yellow and a red section. After the working day, our car is directed to the red area and is thoroughly cleaned on the outside. The volunteers look tired. Free lunches have been weeded out. The work is mentally and physically challenging. Working in sweaty suits consumes energy, and seeing death endlessly drains people’s reserves. Although Ebola had not yet spread here, it is only a matter of time before the first official victim is accounted for. The waiting time is long. Every person who has died in suspicious circumstances must be safely buried during the epidemic. The team has experts from different fields, but the person responsible for testing the Ebola is almost always someone with a medical background, more often a nurse, sometimes a doctor, as the Ebola test is taken from the saliva, in the throat of the dead body. The risk of infection in these situations is extremely high and touching the body can be very difficult for an inexperienced person. One day, the SDB team leader asks me: “Are you going to Beni?” I say yes. “Then you’ll see what this job is really about.” BENI A view of the Virunga National Park opens up below from the window of the aircraft. My mind is wandering in the lush green, with the gorillas and The SDB team receives up to six alerts per day. They work until darkness falls. bugs, when the aircraft’s steady and loud vibration dulls my senses. Small moments of respite are valuable as work consumes all our time and strength. Free time on missions does not exist. Organising the trip to Beni was complicated. For safety reasons, there can only be a certain number of individuals present in the Red Cross residency at the same time. For me to go there, someone else must leave. Then we have to secure a place on the humanitarian flights that fill up quickly. After a long, frustrating wait, I finally get to my destination. Hand-washing points stand along the narrow roads of Beni. The roads are different from those in Goma, the fine sand is billowing, and wherever I look, I see a kind of lush greenness that I have never seen anywhere before. Every now and then, a tank 14 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 14 22.4.2020 13.30

marked with the UN insignia peeks from the forest. They seem threatening, even though their purpose is to protect. I hear on my day of arrival that a group of villagers were killed near the airport. Rebel forces operating in the area were behind the attack. Later in the day, we hear that bodies had been brought to the City Hall, which was revenge from this morning’s attentat. No wonder we are told to stay in the residency for the rest of the day. Moving around Beni happens only by car. I was lucky to be able to take photographs the next day. The SDB team members have been working in shifts for weeks, and dozens of people have been buried each day. Lunch is eaten underneath a big canopy, in a wideopen space. Once we’ve eaten, (above) The volunteers visit a community in Beni to talk about the work against the Ebola virus. (below) Two team members always stay at the base to disinfect the car and team members when they return. someone puts on music and starts a huge dance battle that takes over my whole body. To my surprise, I get a strong sense of belonging with them. I’ve listened to their stories, both in Goma and Beni, and the reasons why they do this work. I come from the other side of the globe and life is very different, yet I understand them perfectly. I take photos and laugh at the tomfoolery and the amazing movements, and the others are laughing as well, the music gets louder as enthusiasm erupts. For a moment, the lunch area is filled with joy and relaxation. The team leader brings a sudden end to the joy by whistling. The phone has rung. In a neighbouring village community, an elderly lady has died of Ebola. It’s time to get back to work. 15 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 15 22.4.2020 13.30

Eeva Matsuke: N orth-east Congo is a very complex area. It has suffered for two decades from armed conflicts which have claimed countless victims, and almost one million people have been internally displaced. People are terrified of both armed attacks and Ebola. The roads are in bad condition because of the rainy season. Poverty is tangible. Ebola is not the only health hazard – there are measles, malaria and cholera epidemics going on. Violence, insecurity and the demanding everyday life make people feel hopeless. The locals find it almost impossible to accept the existence of Ebola. That is why the Ebola mission has been faced with a great deal of opposition and prejudice since the beginning. BURIED WITH RESPECT The Red Cross has focused on burial in the area, i.e. promoting safe and dignified burials. This is important because when a person dies of Ebola, the body has a lot of viruses and is still highly contagious. When a person dies here, everyone comes to see and touch the body, to bid final farewell. Now all this is forbidden, because you cannot touch a person who has died of Ebola. In the midst of mourning, it is difficult to accept restrictions and let a loved one disappear into depths of the earth without proper goodbyes. Every burial alarm is inspected, and the family’s permit is obtained for burial and Ebola sampling. Ebola adheres to the mucous membranes, which means that the samples must be taken from the cheek, nose or anus, and also from the vagina with The Red Cross has an hour-long Ebola talk show at the RTR radio station in Beni. The station has up to a million listeners. women. This is why we always tell them why we are there and why we wear protective clothes like spacemen. In a burial situation, we involve one or two family members so that they can see what we are doing. As long as they follow the exact instructions, they can be part of the burial process. A priest or an imam is invited to the funeral, but they must not touch the body either. Previously, water was thrown and the body washed with blessed water, but now it has been replaced with throwing sand, for example. There are rumours here that we are cutting out body parts, selling them on, doing something strange to the body. Nowadays, body bags have a plastic window, so people can see that there’s an intact body inside. After the burial, we disinfect the entire area so we can stop the disease 16 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 16 22.4.2020 13.30

from spreading. If necessary, we also burn the bed, bed linen and clothes of the patient, and donate new ones to the family. Psychosocial support is also provided in teams, families, and the community as a whole. FEAR, SADNESS AND NIGHTMARES Volunteers also need support. Initially, they were terrified of the reaction in the communities because they had to touch the bodies in their protective suits. There have been situations where they have had to leave the burial and escape because one must protect oneself first. Rocks have been thrown at them, and people have tried to drive them away with sticks. The clothes and gloves of the volunteers can tear because of the rocks, which means that they are at risk of contracting Ebola. (above) The protective equipment is carefully disinfected after each burial. (below) Measuring fever at the ICRC hospital in Ndosho, Goma. The hospital mainly treats war injuries. The volunteers have told me that they are having nightmares, because they have been doing this work for a year now. They are always with bodies, always in a sad situation, always with a fear of their own infection and of violence. I really salute these volunteers and this whole group. They cannot do everything though. Many alerts come late in the evening, in the dark or to an area where the Red Cross cannot go, so we have trained people in the communities who know how to bury people correctly. The intention is that the expertise and knowledge we transmit will remain in this country. ■ In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the end of the Congo Ebola epidemic. However, in mid-April two new ­ cases of Ebola were reported. The fight goes on. 17 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 17 22.4.2020 13.30

A self-built camp fire is the only source of heat at the Vučjak refugee camp. 18 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 18 22.4.2020 13.30

Text and photos: Hannu-Pekka Laiho At the end of 2019, Hannu-­ Pekka Laiho, the former Director of Communications for the Finnish Red Cross, spent a month in a refugee camp in B ­ osnia and Herzegovina as a communications delegate. He brought the bleak camp to the consciousness of the world by telling several media outlets about what he saw. It is conceivable that his reporting played a decisive role on the decision of the Bosnian authorities to close the camp. B Jungle camp in the middle of Europe itter, thick smoke floats in the air. The forest-covered mountains are engulfed in the grey mist, and down in the valley the town of Bihac is silent. The tents that lost their shape weeks ago are scattered by the roadside, among mud and waste. A few of the tents have the faded logo of the Red Crescent and the text Türkkizilayi, a donation from Turkey. There are tired men wandering in the midst of the wind-shaken tents and tarps. Clothing is worn, but one’s attention is focused on the shoes. Misshapen sports shoes, broken sandals and bare toes in the middle of the mud. Discarded shoes among the bushes. Shoes are also left in front of the openings of tents. Men have taken them off when entering their tent, as has been customary in at home, somewhere far away. The narrow and bumpy village road leads from Zavalje School to the Pljesivica mountains, past the cemetery and the centre of the small village of Vučjak. To a Finn, they look more like fells than mountains. 19 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 19 22.4.2020 13.30

There is also a barber among the manual laborers and farm workers in the camp. Discarded ­warning signs are being reused as cooking plates for baking bread from the home country. THE CAMP WAS ONLY INTENDED TO BE A TEMPORARY LOCATION FOR A FEW MONTHS. IT SUDDENLY BECAME A LARGE CAMP, WITH UP TO OVER 2,000 MEN RESIDING THERE. The border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia is a few kilometres away. There is also a very famous underground air base in Zeljava, the pride of the former Yugoslavian army, JNA. In the 1970s and 80s, Zeljava was the world’s largest underground air base, a network of tunnels that was actually atomic bomb-proof. The old runways still cross the border of the two countries. Remote Vučjak is in the midst of a crisis, and not for the first time. As the civil war in Yugoslavia raged in the early 1990s, the frontline of the Croatian and Serbian armies passed through the village. There are still numerous signs to warn against mines in nearby forests. Most of these metal plaques are now being reused in the camps to cook Pakistani and Afghan bread on the campfire. BOTTLENECK IN BIHAC The Vučjak forest camp is just one chapter in Europe’s new crisis. The small village has become a stop for the flow of refugees and migrants from the Middle East to Europe. The Vučjak camp — junglecamp, as the men call it — was formed here in north-west Bosnia, near the city of Bihac with its 25,000 inhabitants, late in the spring of 2019. At that time, the flow of tens of thousands of people from Turkey and North Africa to Europe was looking for new routes, since the previously-­ used channels closed – due to the barbed wire fences built by Hungary, for example.  From Turkey, the asylum seekers continued on to Greece and towards 20 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 20 22.4.2020 13.30

pour into the city’s parks, and in the buildings and factories abandoned after the war. Women and families who remained without shelter were protected at the camps managed by the UN body International Organisation for Migration (IOM), but they filled up quickly. Men travelling alone were left outside in the parks and on the banks of the River Sana, which flows through the city. Tensions in the city grew and the police had to react. The local authorities set up a temporary camp for these men in Vučjak, to where the police started transporting them by bus from the city centre. The camp was only intended to be a temporary location for a few months. It suddenly became a large camp, with up to over 2,000 men residing there. MAKINGS OF A DISASTER The camp, built for summer use, was at the mercy of the cold, snowy winter. Central Europe through North Macedonia and Serbia, but then turned to Bosnia and Herzegovina instead of Hungary. Some also came to Bosnia thru a new route from Greece via Albania or Kosovo and Serbia.  Most of the asylum seekers aspired to continue the journey across Bosnia and Herzegovina and then move on to Croatia, Slovenia, and the Trieste region of Italy. Indeed, the jungle drum told them that the boot-shaped country does not return asylum seekers across the border, as Croatia and Slovenia do. In other words, Bihac, the capital of Una Sana Canton in north-west Bosnia, became a stop for the refugees. It was along the route, with good train and bus connections from Sarajevo and Tuzla. When one finally arrived, the Croatian border was only 20 km away and then a 260-km walk from the border to Italy. However, Croatia tightened its border controls in spring 2019 and started returning people across the border to Bosnia. This is how Bihac became a bottleneck. Thousands of people heading to Europe started to In autumn 2019, the Vučjak camp was quickly developing into a massive disaster. The camp, which was built temporarily for summer use, was about to fall to the mercies of a rainy autumn and a snowy winter. There was no heating, electricity, waste management or toilets in the tents. Drinking water was occasionally transported to the camp by a tank truck. There was no functional catering, doctor or security. The situation in the camp was completely aberrant. The newcomers were not registered, so nobody knew who lived in the camp. New men arrived at the camp on a daily basis and others, guided by smugglers, tried to cross the border to Croatia and further towards Italy. The population varied between a few hundred and over two thousand. The Bihac District of the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina was the only humanitarian actor permitted to operate in the camp by the authorities of the Una Sana Canton. In the spring, the Red Cross was asked to set up tents for a temporary camp. Constructing a functioning refugee camp was not allowed. At least the 21 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 21 22.4.2020 13.30

Bosnia and Herzegovina • Capital: Sarajevo • Area: 51,209 km ² • Population: 3,489,000 • Population density: 68.3/km² FACT: The Dayton Agreement ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the High Representative of the UN continues to wield significant monitoring power over Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are still European EUFOR troops present. The country, consisting of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, is fragile, and tensions exist between ethnic groups (Bosnians, Serbs and Croats). The unemployment rate is high, and grey economy is flourishing. IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND HOW A DEATH TRAP LIKE THIS COULD HAVE ARISEN IN CENTRAL EUROPE, WHICH WAS VIRTUALLY UNNOTICED IN THE MEDIA. In Afghanistan, the father of Nijab, age 14, felt that sending the boy abroad was the only certain way to keep him alive. Men are waiting in the rain shelter for a soup lunch distributed by the Red Cross. local Red Cross was able to provide modest breakfasts and soup lunches at the camp, and sometimes also shoes and clothes. The intention of the authorities was to prevent the creation of a large, permanent refugee camp. The idea seemed to be that keeping conditions as miserable as possible would force men to move elsewhere. This idea did not work. The authorities did not understand the desperation these men felt in their search for a safer life. For them, a humane life was less than 300 kilometres and three borders away. Years of wandering towards a dream would not fail due to one miserable, inhumane camp. Dozens of visitors visited the Vučjak camp every day — human rights activists, authorities from different countries, foreign journalists and local media representatives. For everyone, the camp was a shock – a distressing, even scary experience. It was impossible to understand how a death trap like this could have arisen in Central Europe, which was virtually unnoticed in the media. How on earth was it possible that such a neglected refugee camp could exist?  HUMANITY SURPRISES It is understandable that the hundreds of bearded, dark men could have felt frightening for the locals, but the reality was very different. I spent a month at the camp and met people who were exceptionally warm, caring and humane. Their concern was heart-warming and very touching. Many were more concerned about my daily survival in the 22 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 22 22.4.2020 13.30

men. In my Red Cross vest and cap, I was part of this humanity and hope. Gratitude also came up in many conversations. That someone appreciated them as ordinary people. Not as vague refugees who could be hated and blamed for all the setbacks of their own lives — even for those which had nothing to do with migrants or refugees. ON AN ENDLESS JOURNEY dismal conditions than about their own misery. I was guided to a shelter from the rain. I was offered warm tea. They carried my camera pack. They were worried about my meals and made sure that I was always safe when people who nobody actually knew arrived in the camp. Sometimes I had to stay at the camp until late at night, when a photographer wanted to take photos of the camp after sundown, in the light of the campfires. As a communications delegate, my task was to look after visiting media representatives. There were always Afghans or Pakistanis who wanted to go with me and make sure that nothing surprising happened. I remember thinking a lot about where this concern emanated from. They could have been angry and bitter at me, when even the Red Cross couldn’t save them from this misery. And that we could not help them cross the border to Europe. In the midst of all the misery, the aid provided by the local Red Cross represented humane caring for these The tents have earthen floors without heating, electricity, waste management, or toilets. There was no functional catering, doctor, or security in the camp. These men who were stuck in Vučjak had been on their journey for a long time, some for up to seven years. The majority of them were from Pakistan and Afghanistan, but there were also men from Kashmir, India, Iran, one from Eritrea, and three from Senegal. There were no Syrians or Iraqis. Sometimes the police also brought men from Morocco and Algeria, the southern shores of the Mediterranean, to the camp. This immediately caused problems and fights between ethnic groups, as they said was the case in other camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The route from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Bosnia passes through Iran, Turkey and Greece. Everyone used a network of smugglers in one way or another. For months, even years, it cost thousands of euros, at worst tens of thousands. They never knew if the smugglers’ promises could be relied upon. The money required was collected by selling property, borrowing from relatives, or borrowing from money lenders in the smugglers’ network. Someone also earned money by working in Turkey and Greece. The required sum was deposited in a bank, in most cases in Turkey or in a European country, from where it was channelled by a trusted relative or friend through different money transfer systems for the person heading towards Europe. There was also a significant reason why no one wanted to return home: the money they owed. It was not possible to get a job there, nor was it possible to repay their huge loans. ■ 23 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 23 22.4.2020 13.30

Text and photos: Maria Santto Many hotels and fishing boats were destroyed, so many lost their livelihood with the hurricane. Paradise revisited Hurricanes in the Caribbean are nothing new. Yet ­Hurricane Dorian, which hit the north of the Bahamas in September 2019, was something unprecedented. Over 13,000 homes were destroyed, 74 people died, and almost 300 are still missing. W hat first springs to mind when you think of the Bahamas? For me, it’s rum and a turquoise sea. Tourists enjoying the paradise islands. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Hurricanes, not so much. The first time I saw the destruction a hurricane could cause was in Haiti in 2016, when Hurricane Matthew hit the north-eastern part of the island. Haiti is poor, whereas the Bahamas are a wealthy island state living from tourism. In the Caribbean, the hurricane season begins in the summer and ends in November. People are prepared for the hurricanes, but Dorian was something unprecedented. A grade 5 hurricane hit the islands of Great Abaco and Grand Bahama with enormous force. The storm was the strongest ever to hit land at this point in the Atlantic, and it stayed over the Bahamas for a long time. The damage was enormous. APOCALYPSE NOW? The first images the media had of the Abaco islands were incredible. The islands had been wiped to the ground, everything was grey or brown pulp. However, it is difficult to understand the full scope of the destruction from just looking at photos. The sight waiting us aid workers on the Great Abaco was apocalyptic. Firstly, it was dead silent, which was astounding. There were no people around, and everything we saw was destroyed. There were cars topsy-turvy in the middle of the road, as if they were a part of some huge, upside-down game board, pieces of it here and there. Finding a working car on the island was difficult, so aid organisations shared cars where possible, and those locals that still had cars rented them. When we travelled along the recently cleared roads, the roofs of scattered cars were visible above the water’s surface. Yachts and boats were lined on the roadside. It was clear that this kind of destruction required enormous force. 24 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 24 22.4.2020 13.30

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Ebony Thomas’s home was ­destroyed in the hurricane and subsequent floods. The Bahamas • Capital: Nassau • Area: 13,939 km ² • Population: 379,100 • Population density: 39/km² FACT: The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, located between Cuba and Florida, is The sunshine felt uncomfortable, and even though we were on the island, the air seemed to be standing still. At midday, a disgusting smell wafted into our nostrils, telling us that not all the animals and people who died in the Hurricane Dorian had been found. AMONG THE FIRST TO ARRIVE The Finnish Red Cross was among the first organisations to send aid workers specialised in logistics and communications. Access to the destroyed islands was not guaranteed, as both the Great Abaco and the Grand Bahama airports were seriously damaged. It soon became clear that the destruction in Abaco was so total that the people who lost everything were trying to get off the islands. Many headed to safety in the capital of the Bahamas in Nassau, where there are still more than 4,800 evacuees. The Red Cross arranged transport assistance from the Nassau Airport to temporary shelters maintained by churches and organisations and, if necessary, to a hospital. DREAMING OF CLEAN WATER Ebony Thomas, 15, lives in the coastal village of McLean on the island one of the richest countries in the Caribbean. Its economy is based on tourism and international financial services. Only 30 of the 700 islands are inhabited. The hurricane season usually lasts from June to November, and tropical hurricanes sometimes cause great damage. of Grand Bahama. Her home was destroyed in the hurricane and subsequent floods. Her family has lived in a broken house without a roof and windows for weeks. It will take a long time to clean up and repair the damage. The damage was also considerable on the island of Grand Bahama. Many hotels and fishing boats were destroyed, so many lost their livelihood with the hurricane. The floods raised the water level by several metres and a strong flow took cars and parts of buildings with it. Saltwater also polluted the wells on the island. That’s why Ebony’s home hasn’t had running water for weeks. The family receives one tank of water at a time from organisations offering emergency assistance. Ebony’s mother estimates that the family uses about 40 litres a day. One Finnish person consumes approximately 60 litres a day. Water can only be used for bathing and flushing the toilet. Drinking water must be purchased from the store. After the destruction by the hurricane, it has been difficult to acquire water because the stores have not been open. The family relies on aid. Ebony dreams of the day when she can have a warm bath. ■ 26 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 26 22.4.2020 13.30

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Harka ­Khadaga led the Red Cross rescue team after the landslide. Text and photos: Päivi Ängeslevä Rescuers of the mountain villages When a disaster strikes in the mountain villages of Nepal, help takes a long time to arrive. For this reason, the Red Cross has trained local people in the eastern part of the country to operate as i­ndependent rescuers. Now more ­people know what to do when slurry floodwater engulfs homes or when the ground quakes. H arka Khadaka, age 48, stands on the Kuttidanda village road in East Nepal. It is peaceful up here. A woman washes laundry by hand, while another cuts firewood briskly with an axe. The men are curious, gathering around Khadaka. He tells of July 2017, when it rained for several days on end. On the fourth night, the floodwaters flowed down the opposite mountainside, sucked the land with it, and buried the house of a family of five. The wife and three children got out, but the father died on his doorstep. Khadaka heard about the accident and gathered a rescue team from among the villagers. He knew what to do, because he had taken part in the Red Cross first aid and disaster-preparedness training. Khadaka ordered the wounds of the injured to be bandaged. The area had to be restricted. The people living on this mountainside and their cattle had to be taken to safety and offered food and shelter. Money, clothing and rice had been collected for disasters in the village. The family received emergency aid and finally a new home, a lightweight mountain house, common in Nepal. Khadaka makes a living as a farmer, much like the majority of the villagers. In Red Cross training, he has learned a lot about the impact people’s actions have on nature. Landslides became more common as the villagers cut down the forest from the mountain slopes. New trees have now been planted. “The climate has changed,” Manju Bhandari, mayor of the Dharan region, believes firmly. More than half of his administrative district in eastern Nepal is mountains and forests. The climate used to be cool and it would snow in winter. The rainy season began in May and lasted until September. Nowadays it can be hot, even up to 40 degrees. CLIMATE CHANGE INCREASES THE RISK OF CATASTROPHE It rarely snows. Often it is too dry, which means that water resources are depleted. “Ten years year ago, drinking water from one source was enough for the people of Dharan. Nowadays this is not the case, even though the population has not grown significantly,” Bhandari says. Nepal is one of the world’s poorest and least developed countries. There are just under 30 million inhabitants. Four in every five people live in mountain areas, where floods and droughts alternate and storm winds are common. FOUR IN EVERY FIVE NEPALESE LIVE IN MOUNTAIN AREAS, WHERE FLOODS AND DROUGHTS ALTERNATE AND STORM WINDS ARE COMMON. Red Cross volunteers provide first aid training at Shree Siksha Sadan Secondary School. Nepal • Capital: Kathmandu • Area: 147,181 km² • Population: 29,673,000 • Population density: 198.8/km² FACT: Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. Nepal is still recovering from the 2015 earthquakes. In addition to earthquakes, floods and landslides are common in mountainous areas, where more than 80% of the population live. The Finnish Red Cross will continue its development cooperation that began in 2007 to promote the quality of life and health of people living in remote areas and to develop better disaster-­preparedness. 28 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 28 22.4.2020 13.30

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First aid skills and disaster-­ preparedness are promoted through street theatre. Biplov Poudel was at school when the earthquake hit for the second time in 2015. FACT: Race II project • Abbreviation for Building Resilience Community through Disaster Risk Reduction • Began in January 2016 and ended in December 2019 • Operated in 27 urban and village communities in East Nepal • Funding from the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Development Cooperation Fund and the Finnish Red Cross Disaster Fund Sometimes it rains, even though it’s not the rainy season. “Heavy rainfall in the monsoon season can last for weeks, and that’s when one should start to worry,” he continues. The city of Dharan is located between the Sardu and Seuti rivers, and is surrounded by the Chure mountains. The forests have seen massive felling in the past decades. A lot of loose gravel now remains on the slopes of Chure, which flushes down by rainwater flowing from the mountains. The floods force the poor people to evacuate their flimsy houses by the river. Epidemics, such as cholera, increase. Mosquitoes spread the dangerous dengue fever. “Transportation may stop. Then how will people get food?” Bhandari asks. The winds are fiercer than before. In March 2019, 28 people were killed in an exceptionally strong storm in southern Nepal. Afterwards the storm was reclassified as the first tornado to hit the country. According to the bleakest forecasts, the temperature in Nepal will rise more than the global average. Winters will be drier and water more scarce. Some of the glaciers in the mountains of Nepal will melt. The rains will be heavier in the rainy season, and summer floods will increase. The Nepalese are constantly in danger. That is why rescue plans must be made. SAFETY BY LEARNING Whatever happens, I will continue going to this school. This is what Biplov Poudel, age 13, thought when two earthquakes damaged Shree Panchamukh School in the village of Panchamukhi Bazar. It was spring 2015. Poudel was sitting in a tree he had climbed for fun when the earth quaked for the first time. It was a day off from school. He was eating raspberries that he had just picked. He heard a strange sound, and soon after, anoth- er. He climbed down, ran home and screamed all the way “Mum, Mum!” A week passed, and a magnitude 7 earthquake hit. Poudel was at school and tried to get out of the classroom. He fell in the rush and thought the walls would fall on top of him. He was scared, thought he was going to die. One of the school buildings was damaged, and a new one is under construction with the support of a Red Cross project. After that spring, the school is better prepared for disasters. “The Red Cross trainers have stressed that we must not panic,” says Poudel. “When the ground starts to quake, we have to try to get to the open field. If you have to stay in the classroom, duck down under your desk, protect your head with your hands, and stay down. There’s a memory rule, “Get down, take cover and stay.” Other protection skills and first aid has been practised. Climate change has been talked about in environmental studies classes, and about how each person can have an impact through their actions. Poudel is now a Red Cross volunteer and teaches other students, siblings and villagers the correct way to wash hands, for example. The dissemination of information is important for the community, and teachers encourage it. TRAINING FOR COMMUNITY “Only I can save that woman,” Dipesh Baniya thought. He had just completed the Red Cross disaster-preparedness training and knew how to act when he saw a fire in the nearby Kaveli marketplace. He put together a rescue team of local residents. They extinguished the fire with tree and banana leaves, because there was no water. Another time, a woman screamed for help. The stone walls of her home had collapsed and she was trapped. Baniya alerted the ambulance. He put together stretchers from planks in the marketplace and ordered the ruins to be carefully dismantled. The woman had been lifted onto the stretcher when the ambulance arrived. “Without training, we wouldn’t have succeeded.” In the Race II project of the Finnish Red Cross, villagers can apply for microloans and receive first aid and disaster-preparedness training, among other things. At a street theatre, you can learn how to clean drinking water and how to overcome diarrhoea. THE NEPALESE ARE CONSTANTLY IN DANGER. THAT IS WHY RESCUE PLANS MUST BE MADE. Today, Baniya is a 21-year-old economics student. He also runs a small hotel and shop in Singhapur, where he acts as the volunteer coordinator of the Disaster Response Committee. In his view, more villagers should be trained in how to prevent disasters and help victims. That would help diminish human suffering. He presents a map of the village of Singhapur, where areas susceptible to disaster have been marked. These areas have been paid special attention. Landslides can be prevented by planting trees on the slopes, and destruction can be averted with stone walls. Floods can be managed with dams and embankments. The community cannot prevent earthquakes, but they can protect themselves. The community can solve its own minor problems. “Just like the Nepalese saying: If one person spits, it’s nothing; but if hundreds of people spit together, a river is born.” ■ 31 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 31 22.4.2020 13.30

Text: Mika Jouhki Photos: Ville Palonen Malawi: • Capital: Lilongwe • Area: 118,484 km ² • Population: 17,991,000 • Population density: 210.5/km² FACT Agriculture is central to Malawi, which suffers from drought. It is one of the poorest countries in the world. The Malawi Red Cross Society is a long-standing partner of the Finnish Red Cross. Long-term co-operation with local people and authorities aims at improving people's living conditions through disaster-­ preparedness, community health and food security programmes. Clean water and toilets in villages and schools, vaccination programmes and the dissemination of health information bring better health. Adapting to climate change in Malawi Rainfall is becoming more erratic and floods have increased. Small-scale farmers in Malawi are trying to adapt to climate change with the support of the Red Cross. Nasingoni ­Lapkin is waiting for rain to fall, so that she can sow maize on her field. 32 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 32 22.4.2020 13.30

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Malawi’s agriculture depends on regular rainfall. Climate change requires a transition to drought resistant varieties. Everything is ready for sowing maize. I’ve even burnt bamboo to fertilise the soil. However, we still have to wait for the rains to begin,” explains Nasingoni Lapkin, 61, standing on the edge of her field in the village of Mwalija in South Malawi. This is not a new situation for her. The mother of five, who has lived in Mwalija all her life, has noticed that the rains that used to come so regularly have arrived late for several years now. When she has finally managed to sow the seeds after the rains, her worries are not yet over. “Hopefully, there will not be too much rain because it could cause a flood and damage the crop.” She knows what she’s talking about. She lost her previous crop in a flood in spring 2019, which also ruined her home village. The International Federation of the Red Cross funded the reconstruction of the village of Mwalija, and Lapkin now lives “A DIVERSE SELECTION OF CROPS HELPS TO COPE WITH DIFFERENT WEATHER PHENOMENA. WE ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO SOW PLANTS WHICH CAN BE HARVESTED QUICKLY.” happily in her new home further up and away from the river, out of reach of possible floods. After the flood, the organisation distributed food to the village residents as disaster aid. Later, seeds were donated to residents for the new harvest season. At the time of the interview in November 2019, Lapkin was left to wait and hope for suitable rainfall; for enough rain to fall, but not too much. Her situation illustrates the problems caused by climate change in Malawi. “Rainy seasons are no longer regular. The rains may come late or end earlier than usual,” confirms Felix Washon, Communications Specialist for the Malawi Red Cross Society. The amount of rainfall varies, too. For example, in March 2019, over 90,000 people lost their homes in the southern parts of the country due to cyclone Idai. The floods destroyed the crops over large areas and thousands of domestic animals drowned. “In some years, there will be no precipitation in certain areas, leading to droughts and food shortages,” Washon points out. The heatwaves that have become more common in the country are another factor in the changed weather patterns. During the heatwaves the temperature can rise to as high as 45 degrees. The Malawi Red Cross Society helps people around the country adapt to the consequences of climate 34 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 34 22.4.2020 13.30

Modester James sows pigeon peas near her home in Manjumo. The peas mature in nine months. Felix Washon from the Red Cross Society of Malawi advises village communities in new cultivation methods. change. The organisation encourages and advises communities on adapted agriculture. “A diverse selection of crops helps to cope with different weather phenomena. We encourage people to sow plants which can be harvested quickly. For example, the maize harvest ripens on time, even if the rains end unexpectedly. Pigeon pea is very resistant to drought. Cassava and sweet potato are also recommended options,” says Washon. The Red Cross has funded field irrigation systems and the construc- tion of bore wells in communities. In addition to domestic water, the wells also provide irrigation water for villagers’ home gardens. The organisation has also supported the planting of trees in Malawi, which prevent erosion and protect against storm winds. “We also help families get energy-saving cookers. They consume less carbon or firewood,” says Washon. The amount of rainfall varies greatly within Malawi. In Mulanje, only a hundred kilometres east of Mwalija, it has rained a lot more. As a result, Modester James, age 20, has already sown maize seeds, and now it is time to sow pigeon peas. “The maize harvest should ripen in March, but we’ll have to wait a few months longer with these peas,” James says. The landscape is greening promisingly in her home village, thanks to the rains that came on time. Now James can only hope that this time there won’t be heavy rainfall and floods and she can get a good harvest. “Over the next few months, I will look for work in the nearby communities and perhaps go to the mountains to collect firewood for sale, so that I can get money for food before my crop ripens,” she plans. ■ 35 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 35 22.4.2020 13.30

Text: Tiina Leinonen Photos: Ville Palonen 36 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 36 22.4.2020 13.30

Apolonia Gunguya walks back home from the food distribution, a few kilometres away. Mom feels proud today In Zimbabwe, which suffers from the worst food crisis in a decade, food is being distributed instead of cash assistance. There is simply nothing for sale in the countryside. Ingenuity has been used in food distribution, otherwise the lions will take their share.  37 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 37 22.4.2020 13.30

Apolonia Gunguya prepares maize porridge with wild okra for her family. Her favourite meal is pieces of meat and sadza, a maize dish, which the family can afford once a month. A polonia Gunguya, age 23, is visibly proud when she grabs the bucket. She starts an open fire on a flat stone and mixes corn flour and okra leaves with boiling water in the pan. The slurry turns quickly into a thick porridge. Today, Apolonia can take care of the meals of her five-person family, as she has just returned from the Red Cross food distribution.  The boys carry a giant wild watermelon from the edge of the forest to the yard surrounded by the buildings. Without food aid, this watermelon would be the only food for the family today. Apolonia, her children and husband, and the orphaned children of her husband’s sister form one of over 15,400 households receiving emergency assistance from the Zimbabwean Red Cross Society, the Finnish Red Cross, and the European Union. Approximately 45 million people suffer from food shortages in southern Africa. For example, in Apolonia’s home region Siakobwu shops were running out of products to sell. She would have had to walk 10 kilometers to the nearest kiosk. The trip to the shop would have been up to 35 kilometres. In March 2020, the few kiosks in rural villages were still empty and closed.    NOTHING FOR SALE In the centre of the village of Siakobwu, women sit in front of the store. The shopkeeper agrees to sell soda, but then closes the store. The Zimbabwean dollar rate is changing again, and inflation continues to deprive its value quickly. Transactions are interrupted also when the sellers are waiting for information about the new currency rate. It is difficult to know whether cash assistance of USD 10 per person per month would have been enough to purchase even the most necessary items because of the fluctuating exchange rate.  ”Everything is expensive and hardly anything is even for sale,” Apolonia summarises the situation in the countryside.  Inflation is no longer as bad as it was a couple of years ago, during the time of the now-ousted president Robert Mugabe. The new currency, the Zimbabwean dollar, was introduced and mobile currency is also in use. The economy is still extremely weak due to the land reform and the collapse of agriculture and exports that resulted from the reform. Besides food shortages, there is a shortage of electricity, fuel, and water, among others.  The situation was reassessed, and cash assistance were replaced by food distributions in January. The third distribution round took place in March. AID ARRIVES AT THE DISTRIBUTION LOCATION In order to get maize flour, beans, and cooking oil bottles in the countryside, three trucks leave the Red 38 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 38 22.4.2020 13.30

Melusi Mazhomba carries a watermelon growing behind the dwellings. Melons are an important nutrient in the dry season. 39 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 39 22.4.2020 13.30

Zimbabwe • Capital: Harare • Area: 390,757 km² • Population: 13,769,000 • Population density: 36.8/km² FACT Zimbabwe has rich natural resources but they do not generate wealth for the population, which is growing poorer. Climate change causes instability and crop-destroying drought or floods. The Finnish Red Cross has supported the work of the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society for years through disaster-preparedness and community development, as well as new innovations, such as keyhole gardens and firewood-saving stoves. Local volunteers assist in the food distribution which takes place every 45 days. The majority of the beneficiaries are ­women, because in Zimbabwe, a woman is usually responsible for food-related family matters. Cross warehouses two days before the start of the distribution. At the warehouse, goods are received and forwarded by a Finnish Red Cross employee together with local warehouse workers he’s trained. The roads located in the Siakobwu area are in poor condition, so the trucks need plenty of time to arrive. You can see trucks stuck on the pockmarked roads. Fortunately, those vehicles are already on their way back, and getting the food to the final destination has not been delayed. At the distribution site, the queue meanders from the shadow of the buildings to under the trees. Assistance is primarily targeted at those with a basic illness or disability, who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as for minors and the elderly who are responsible for their family. The majority of the beneficiaries are women, because in Zimbabwe, a woman is usually responsible for the food economy of the family.  Food distribution is an important event, so many have dressed in their best. The young adults of the village throw maize sacks to each other in a chain formation. The flour is billowing, covering the clothes in white dust. After the food bags have been sorted into stacks on the pads, it is Apolonia’s turn to register and collect the food for her family of five: 60 kilogrammes of maize flour, 7 bottles of cooking oil, and 11 kilogrammes of sugar beans.  Apolonia and her assistants carry the sacks to the shadow of the bushes. They weigh on top of her head, the sweat drips down her face, but from underneath it, satisfaction shines through. For the next 45 days, Apolonia’s family has enough to eat, with three meals per day to make from the food aid. Otherwise, the family would only eat once a day. Apolonia and other beneficiaries have also been satisfied with the food aid, because it was difficult to get maize, for example, even with money.  HUNGER MAKES YOU HOPELESS The children wait for food kindly, sitting on the steps of the buildings. No one has any extra energy to hustle and bustle around their mother. Apolonia explains what life is like without food. The children cry and do not have the strength to walk to school. Hunger makes a mother feel hopeless. ”Sometimes life is so difficult that you shouldn’t even think about the future.” She says hunger makes you sick and nervous. ”My husband suffers from a chronic headache.”  Hunger also increases the concern about one’s own well-being and that of one’s family. Lack of food causes general stress. ”All I can think about is how I can make the next meal for my family,” Apolonia sighs. Food assistance ensures that the aid is of real benefit 40 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 40 22.4.2020 13.30

According to Tasiyana Bakasa, a project worker at the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, the distribution sites are located so that no one needs to walk long distances in fear of wild animals.  to its recipients. Drought and extreme weather phenomena are not the only threat to crops. Foodstuff from food distribution may attract wild animals when women return home. Apolonia says she is tired because she has stayed awake all through the previous night, evicting elephants from the vicinity of her yard. Last night, there were only two elephants, but they can move in packs.  ”Animals can destroy even the smallest crop. That’s why they have to be driven away by keeping noise, cutting branches, and drumming. Throwing stones at animals is dangerous because they can get nervous.“ Tasiyana Bakasa, a project worker at the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, says that the distribution sites are located so that no one needs to walk more than five kilometres from their home in fear of wild animals. One cannot escape the elephants when carrying a heavy load on one’s head.    Distribution appear in the morning and the return journey starts midday. The lions will not start until the afternoon, when temperatures have dropped. ”Local residents know the routes of wild animals. They do not go out or walk on animal routes when lions and hyenas go to drink", says ­Tasiayana Bakasa. FOOD, FINALLY The Red Cross distributors do not give out food into the recipients’ own dishes. Instead, maize sacks, beans, and oil bottles are given in their own packages. Since food can be carried immediately, women do not have to walk with money for long distances to the store, which could put them at risk of being robbed. They can cook right away, as long as the sacks can be carried home. The journey home for Apolonia is a few kilometres along wooded trails. Her speed does not slow down even when crossing a nearly dry river; DROUGHT HAS DEPLETED THE HARVEST. APPROXIMATELY 45 MILLION PEOPLE SUFFER FROM FOOD SHORTAGES IN SOUTHERN AFRICA. instead, she jumps from stone to stone, a flour bag on her head. Home is behind a millet field.  ”Last time we got a good crop was in 2016–2017. At that time, we bagged 20 sacks of millet flour,” says Apolonia. In 2018, we got only five sacks. There was no crop last year.  The family estimates that this year there could be seven sacks. Even though there’s been some rain, more millet will not ripen. The climate has still been dry. Apolonia’s food is ready, and she takes out her finest plates to celebrate. The families of the brothers living in the same yard also begin to gather closer to the maize pot. Evening darkness will fall soon.  ■ 41 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 41 22.4.2020 13.30

Text: Johanna Korkeamäki Photos: Benjamin Suomela Julia Silverio introducing the new learning material at ­Educa fair 2020. 42 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 42 22.4.2020 13.30

Risk Zones teaching materials to support distance learning The corona pandemic created completely exceptional state of affairs worldwide, which also put Finnish schools in a new situation. In addition to the fact that teachers, pupils and parents were facing a new challenge with distance learning, the pandemic itself caused fear and uncertainty, especially in children and young people. T he Finnish Red Cross responded to this challenge with the help of versatile and, above all, topical teaching materials. The Risk Zones package, available in the new learning material service, is used to familiarise students with the many other risks that affect the world, such as conflicts, climate change, migration, and natural disasters. In addition to photographs, texts, infographics, and videos, the Risk Zones package now also contains age-group specific assignments for the students. ”We want to support also teachers in their educational duty, both in normal classrooms and in distance teaching. For this reason, our service now offers reliable material for covering the corona pandemic, in addition to many other themes,” says advocacy THE NEW, ELECTRONIC AND FREE OF CHARGE LEARNING ­MATERIAL SERVICE BRINGS TOGETHER LEARNING MATERIALS FOR ALL GRADES IN A VISUALLY MEANINGFUL MANNER. officer Pekka Reinikainen, who has produced the Risk Zones package. The new, electronic and free of charge learning material service brings together learning materials on a variety of topics for all grades in a visually meaningful manner. Above all, efforts have been made to make the service easy to use for both teachers and students. The included courses do not require any preliminary preparations and are directly available for teachers to use. The service does not require the students to register. By logging in, the teacher receives additional support for the utilisation of materials and, for example, answers to the student assignments. The service contains ready-made materials on the themes of global education, the rules of the war, first aid and health, friendship, and equality. It includes short video assignments, concise information sessions suitable for morning assemblies or other teaching sessions, as well as broader lesson modules, which are also well-suited for teaching across subject boundaries. Some of the materials are more teacher-led, while others are aimed for the students to work on independently. (above) The learning material has gained a lot of interest. (below) Risk Zones package has been produced by advocacy officer Pekka ­Reinikainen. The materials are suitable for teaching several different subjects, many of which are also excellent for the multidisciplinary learning modules in the current curricula. Materials are available in Finnish, Swedish, and English. ■ Visit the service at www.sproppimateriaalit.fi 43 SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 43 22.4.2020 13.30

Nijab, 14, from Afghanistan, with his friends in a refugee camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Hannu-Pekka Laiho Finnish Red Cross Tehtaankatu 1 a 00140 Helsinki, Finland Tel +358 20 701 2000 www.redcross.fi www.sproppimateriaalit.fi SPR_RK2020_s1-44_210x270mm_EN.indd 44 22.4.2020 13.30