Need in the News, Vol. II, Issue 9

I summarize local, national and international “stories of need” from news sites, blogs, press releases and editorials at the end of every month. The following are some of September’s most need-in-the-news-worthy crises, people and issues:

KENYA — A group of automatic weapon-toting men attacked upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi last week, killing dozens of people, among them citizens of 10 nations.

Debris piled up outside a South Boulder home. (Marrton Dormish)
Debris piled up outside a South Boulder, Colo., home. (Marrton Dormish)

COLORADO — Flooding caused by epic amounts of rainfall killed eight people and destroyed and damaged thousands of homes in many Front Range communities from Jamestown in the mountains to Evans on the plains. (Initial estimates left 1,200 people unaccounted for.) One small consolation is that it is possible the flooding will eventually help ease drought conditions on Colorado’s eastern plains.

QATAR — The International Trade Union Commission (ITUC) recently claimed that the construction frenzy leading up to the 2022 World Cup, set to be hosted by Qatar, is on track to cost the lives of 4,000 migrant workers.

IRAQ — Multiple car bombs rocked Baghdad today killing at least 47 people and injuring many more. The bomb attacks followed a suicide bombing yesterday that destroyed a mosque and killed 47 people.

PAKISTAN — A 7.7 magnitude earthquake caused the deaths of at least 355 people, and militant groups have subsequently targeted aid workers arriving with food and supplies.

At times, what gets lost in the concern and clamor over major local, national and international events and issues, are ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things.

DORCHESTER (Mass.) — Last month, Glen James found a backpack with $42,000 in cash and travelers’ checks at a shopping mall. James gave the pack and all its contents to a nearby police officer, despite he himself being homeless. His reward: a special citation from the Boston Police Department and a $69,000 reward to help him start over (via a crowdfunding campaign).

JAMESTOWN (Colo.) — In this tiny, Colorado mountain village, neighbors looked after each other during the recent flooding that destroyed their town.

FLORIDA — Diana Nyad, 64, became the first person without the benefit of a shark cage to successfully complete the dangerous, 110-mile Cuba to Florida swim. It was her fifth try.

BROOMFIELD (Colo.) Firefighters rescued motorists when a main area roadway gave way due to flooding.

WORLDWIDEThousands of people prayed and fasted for peace in Syria.

Stories worth reflection:

PROGRESS IN THE HORN OF AFRICA? — Despite the recent attack in Nairobi, this article in the Guardian lauds progress made on many fronts in the Horn of Africa.

ANNUAL SNAP WARS — The latest version of the Farm Bill passed by the House of Representatives this month will cut $39 billion over 10 years from SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. (SNAP is better known as the “food stamps” program.) A similar bill was passed last year, as well.

STRAY IN DETROIT — When some Detroit residents abandoned their bankrupt city, they left their dogs behind, and now thousands of stray dogs are roaming Detroit’s streets.

GRANDMAS IN TROUBLE? — A new study reported an unexpected rise in the number of elderly women facing extreme poverty.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF FIGHT FOR RETURNING VETERANS — These recent pieces, one from the L.A. Times and the other from the Huffington Post, tell poignant stories of two veterans struggling with their homecomings.

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