Writing Samples

Listening to communities is key to preparing for public health emergencies in Zambia

In Zambia—where drought threatens to intensify the existing anthrax and cholera outbreaks—the Collective Service is collaborating with the Ministry of Health to harness the power of community feedback.

Thanks to support from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) pillar has been reactivated, enabling partners to pool resources and data for an informed response.

Rescued at Sea: A Teenager’s Instinct to Help Others in Need

There’s no darkness like the sea at 3 a.m. If you’re in a simple wooden boat or rubber raft, the choppy waters and starless skies make it hard to understand what direction you’re headed. But for people fleeing persecution in Libya, trying to cross the sea is the only choice they have to find safety.

Aboard the Ocean Viking—a rescue ship in the Mediterranean Sea operated by the Red Cross Red Crescent and SOS Mediterranee—rescuers are ready to help. They spot people in danger, floating in the sea

Crisis fatigue not an option as global hunger emergency deepens

Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing one of the most alarming food crises in decades—immense in both its severity and geographic scope. Roughly 146 million people are suffering from acute food insecurity, requiring urgent humanitarian assistance. The crisis is driven by a range of local and global factors, including insecurity and armed conflict, extreme weather events, climate variability and negative macroeconomic impacts. Through this regional Emergency Appeal, the IFRC is supporting many Red C

What I heard in the middle of the Mediterranean in the middle of the night

Migrants don’t launch off the Libyan coast during the day. It’s more like midnight. When the waves are low and winds are gentle, smugglers crowd 100, 200, 300 souls into wooden boats or rubber dinghies. Due north.

Over the next hours, the moon dominates. Silence. Then, panic. This isn’t what any of them envisioned when they left Nigeria, Bangladesh, Syria...

Jenelle Eli spent one month aboard the Responder--a rescue ship in the Mediterranean Sea between Libya and Italy--and tells the stories of refugees making the dangerous journey.

In Cox’s Bazar, “Each and Every Person Here Has Huge Potential”

When rain falls in Kutupalong—a temporary home for displaced families in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh—it’s not merely an inconvenience. It’s a hazard. Within minutes of a downpour the walkways become slippery mud; the fields turn to puddles; and people’s roofs start to leak. For the hundreds of thousands of people living in Kutupalong, this is life during monsoon season.

Since August 2017, more than 600,000 people have fled Rakhine state, Myanmar to seek safety in Cox’s Bazar. Many arrive injured, m

Ukraine: Six months in, IFRC warns of ripple effects and mounting humanitarian needs

More than one year on from the escalation of international armed conflict in Ukraine, the devastation continues to affect every aspect of people's lives. Many of the millions who fled are unable to return home, and those who remain face dire conditions, with limited access to water, heat, health care and other essential services. The impacts on people's mental health, whether they are inside or outside of Ukraine, continue to grow. Through this Emergency Appeal, the IFRC continues to support the

Top 8 International Travel Tips

Did you know that July is the most popular month for Americans to travel internationally? If past years are any indication, millions of U.S. citizens will set off on a global adventure sometime this month. Whether you’re driving across a border, sailing to a coastline or flying halfway around the world, the American Red Cross wishes you a safe and happy journey.

As you go on your way, here’s a helpful list to keep handy.

1. Know what natural disasters are possible. There’s no reason to panic,

Australia Bushfires: “Just so Terrifying.”

“There was ash everywhere. Burnt leaves, and then all of a sudden the sky went really, really red, and then it just went pitch black. Eight o’clock in the morning. Pitch black,” remembers Chelsea—who was on vacation in Victoria, Australia with her family when bushfires approached their residence.

Sheltering in the vacation property’s office, Chelsea was terrified. “I honestly didn’t think that we were going to survive…I just couldn’t stop crying. I just held my six-month-old baby girl and I jus

Heatwaves account for some of the deadliest disasters and are intensifying, warn the IFRC and the UN humanitarian relief agency ahead of COP27

– Record high temperatures this year—which are fueling catastrophes in Somalia, Pakistan and around the world—foreshadow a future with deadlier, more frequent and more intense heat-related humanitarian emergencies, a new report warns.

Released a month ahead of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27), Extreme Heat: Preparing for the heatwaves of the future says that, with climate change making heatwaves ever more dangerous, aggressive steps must be taken now to avert potential

Cox’s Bazar: “Volunteering Brings Me Dignity”

“We all struggle together and we can all help each other,” says Sukutara—a mother of two living in a displacement camp in Bangladesh. Sukutara has faced a lot of uncertainty since fleeing her home country, but she has turned her pain into a force for good.

Since August 2017, more than 700,000 people have fled Rakhine State, Myanmar to seek safety in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Many arrive injured, malnourished and devastated. They speak of dangerous journeys—walking days on end to reach the border

Laos Floods: Red Cross Responds after Dam Collapse

Last week in Laos, the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam collapsed causing unprecedented flooding in 13 neighboring communities, affecting as many as 16,000 people. The Lao Red Cross immediately deployed trained rescue personnel to help evacuate survivors, some of whom were awaiting help on their rooftops. Today, Red Cross teams are still working around the clock to provide relief and comfort to affected communities.

More than 6,000 people are staying in community shelters in Laos after fleeing

Coastal Bangladesh: Disaster Prep Gets Real

“I volunteer because I can save people’s lives,” says Aslam Hossain—a Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteer for more than 24 years.

Aslam lives in a coastal community at risk of cyclones, tidal surges, flooding, heavy rain and high winds. In May 2019, as Cyclone Fani approached the delta where he and neighbors live, Aslam grabbed his megaphone and jumped on the back of a motorbike. His friend navigated the community’s narrow brick pathways—which are flanked by water—while Aslam warned residents of

Nigeria: Q&A from the Flood Zone

Torrential rains have been falling in Nigeria since July—causing two major bodies of water, the Niger River and Benue River, to overflow. The flooding has taken lives, damaged infrastructure, and affected nearly 2 million people. The Nigerian Red Cross and the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network have been providing relief and lifesaving aid since day one—including first aid, search-and-rescue, food, and drinking water. Water levels have started to subside, but the urgent and long-term need

Delivering aid via mobile phones in Indonesia

Written as part of an innovation partnership with MasterCard to deliver cash via mobile phone.

Widiawah uses her cell phone to text friends and take photos. Now, she can add something new to that list: buying essentials for her family. Widiawah, 18, and her parents don't have access to potable water at home, so they have to purchase jugs and bottles every week to stay hydrated. It's a big, but necessary, expense.

In an effort to help families like Widiawah’s, the Red Cross and Mastercard launched a pilot project to transfer funds to people via mobile wallet technology. Widiawah's family

Mexico Quake: Aid & Compassion at Collapsed Elementary School

When Gabriela received orders to drive to an elementary school on the day a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck outside of Mexico City, her mind went to one place. “The first thing I thought: children,” the Emergency Medical Technician (and mother) remembers.

She and her Red Cross teammates rushed to the scene in an ambulance—searching the collapsed school for survivors. The kindergartener for whom she provided medical care survived. The child’s parents watched in horror as Gabriela helped save his

"Pandemics suck. But good food helps. So do good people."

Thx to DC residents doing their part + keeping $$ in our local food economy

I want to give a huge shout-out to all the DC residents out there who have stepped up to support their local farmers + food producers during this pandemic. I’m amazed by + grateful to all the folks getting local food delivery in an effort to “flatten the curve” and help local food producers through this rough patch.

My company, Number 1 Sons, started delivering our own fermented + pickled foods to customers stuck at ho

Dynamic Duo Helps Reconnect Separated Families in Arizona

Every morning, Elissa Maish puts on her Red Cross vest and jumps in her car to deliver hope to refugee families living in communities across Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona.

Before she heads to her first home visit, she stops to pick up Fidele*, a professional Red Cross interpreter who is fluent in six languages. Together, they work to achieve the Red Cross’s Restoring Family Links (RFL) mission: helping families trace and reconnect with loved ones separated by international conflict, disaster or

In the Philippines: “I feel safer now.”

Agnes Morados gets emotional when she talks about rain. And it’s easy to see why. In Paglaum—her small village in the Philippines—rain wreaks havoc on a regular basis: flooding homes, cutting off road access, and even causing health problems.

But thanks to the Red Cross, things in Paglaum—and in Agnes’s daily life—have changed for the better. Teams are dredging and widening the local canal, which has already decreased flooding. Construction workers are laying the groundwork for retaining walls

Moldova: Q+A with a Red Cross Responder

Shavkat Ismailov is one of more than a dozen American Red Cross emergency responders deployed to Europe in response to the Ukraine crisis. Based in Moldova—a country neighboring Ukraine to the south—Shavkat is using his language skills and experience in humanitarian crises to aid families impacted by the conflict.

Originally from Tajikistan, Shavkat speaks four languages—including Tajik and Russian—and has a long history of working with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to aid people in n

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Across the Globe

Red Cross volunteer, Binita is determined to help families in her community, named Kaule, to recover from the disaster in a way that is safer, healthier, and more resilient to future emergencies. “It takes effort to bring change,” she remarked. It’s a sort of motto for her and fellow volunteers.

She’s part of a Red Cross team that walks the rugged terrain of Kaule, knocking on doors, to remind parents about the importance of vaccines. She makes multiple home visits to ensure parents and their b

Bahamas Update: One Month after Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian laid into the Bahamas in early September devastating families on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama. The category 5 storm hovered for the better part of two days, unleashing its fury on the islands and cays before moving to the southeastern coast of the United States and then to Canada.

In Dorian’s immediate aftermath, families fought to survive. Access to food, clean water and sanitation, shelter and other necessities was extremely limited. Bahamas Red Cross volunteers helped