FSRN Weekly Edition – October 7, 2016
- Hurricane Matthew spirals up Florida coast; hundreds dead in Haiti
- After catastrophic bleaching of Great Barrier Reef, prospects for recovery look grim
- India-Pakistan tension grows along with unrest in Kashmir
- Colombian victims continue to push for peace despite narrow loss in referendum
- Hungarians vote on whether to participate in EU refugee resettlement plan
- Toronto’s Newcomer Kitchen helps Syrian refugees adjust, share culture
More than three million people are under evacuation orders in three southeastern United States Friday, as Hurricane Matthew slowly churns along the east coast of Florida. The storm left a wake of destruction in Haiti where rescue workers and residents are still digging out and counting the dead. Official estimates are slow to emerge, but media reports put the death toll at more than 500. The hurricane struck Haiti as a Category 4 Tuesday. FSRN’s Nell Abram has more.
Increased severe storm activity has been linked to climate change, as have elevated ocean temperatures. Now predictions of catastrophic damage to the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem have come to fruition. With sea temperatures on the rise, a massive portion of the Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is losing its pigment in a process known as “coral bleaching.” But it’s not just an issue of color, it’s an issue survival.
With 93 percent of the reef already distressed from a recent global bleaching event, the coral’s prospects of recovery look grim, and, the world could be seeing the worst of it this month. FSRN’s Georgia Clark has this report.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated in recent weeks. The renewed hostility between the South Asian rivals comes amid months of unrest in Indian-administered Kashmir that is just beginning to abate — under harsh repression of both public dissent and the media. The popular Kashmir Reader remains offline and out of print after the government ordered its presses to stop last weekend. FSRN’s Shahnawaz Khan has more from Srinagar.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Friday for his efforts to end the country’s 52-year-old armed conflict. The announcement comes just days after Colombian voters narrowly rejected the peace deal between the government and the FARC rebels. In the referendum, a majority of eligible voters abstained from casting a ballot on the peace accord that took four years of negotiations to reach. What comes next is anyone’s guess, as even the two long-warring parties say neither had a Plan B for what all polls predicted would be certain victory in favor of the peace deal. FSRN’s Andalusia Knoll has more from Bogota, Colombia.
The US State Department announced this week that 84,995 refugees resettled in the country during the 2016 fiscal year. That’s just six refugees shy of the year’s goal – and comes despite efforts by some Republican governors to refuse to accept Syrians in particular.
But the U.S. isn’t the only house divided over where to host people fleeing the ravages of war. At the height of the migrant crisis in Europe last year, the European Union asked member states to each resettle a specific number of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who were arriving through the Mediterranean Sea. Deeply opposed, the right-wing government in Hungary put the matter to a referendum. Sunday more than three million Hungarians agreed, but the vast majority of the nation’s electorate stayed home. FSRN’s Andrew Connelly has more from Budapest.
Amnesty International issued a scathing report this week on the state of the global migrant crisis, calling the recent UN summit on refugees a spectacular failure and criticizing most of the world’s wealthiest nations for doing the least to address the needs of 21 million refugees worldwide.
But the report, titled “Tackling the Global Refugee Crisis: From Shirking to Sharing Responsibility,” does name two countries that have stepped up to the call: Germany and Canada. In December 2015, Canada announced it would accept 25,000 Syrian refugees fleeing civil war in a nationwide effort with Canadians opening their hearts, homes and kitchens. FSRN’s Tanya Castle reports.