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Geopolitics

After Sandy: Meanwhile In Haiti...And Staten Island

THE CARIBBEAN JOURNAL, CNN, NBC, AP (USA), BBC NEWS (UK)

Worldcrunch

Haiti is pleading for international help in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, as more than a million Haitians risk being victims of food shortages.

The Caribbean Journal reports that Johan Peleman, the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ operation in Haiti, revealed that approximately 1.2 million people in Haiti are facing food insecurity due to the residual effects of Hurricane Sandy.

FOTO del Día: Mercado inundado en Port-au-Prince #Haití tras el huracán #Sandy q deja 20.000personas damnificadas twitpic.com/b9fhfm

— ONU Desarrollo (@pnud_es) November 1, 2012

The food shortages are being blamed on crop damages caused by the storm's strong winds and heavy rain, according to BBC News.

Between 15,000 and 20,000 people’s houses in Haiti have been destroyed, damaged or flooded by the storm, the UN said – a situation that could lead to a sharp rise in cholera cases.

Sandy howled over a series of countries, killing an overall 161 people, including 92 in the United States, CNN reports. Deaths include two in Canada and 67 in the Caribbean -- 50 of which in Haiti alone.

One luv and warm energy to Haïti #sandy was serious out there too #nature#storm#disaster#solidarity#raininstagr.am/p/RfuDixs-jz/

— Jay Smith (@jaybkrw) November 1, 2012

In the U.S., New York state was the worst-hit with 48 deaths, including 41 in New York City, authorities said. The city borough of Staten Island, made up of working-class neighborhoods just a ferry ride from the more glamorous Manhattan, has been the hardest hit with 19 deaths.

Recovery efforts are being hampered by fuel shortages and difficulties in restoring power, meaning endless lines at filling stations and lingering blackouts for New York residents, even as plans for this Sunday's annual marathon are still on, despite rising criticism for the decision.

New York City authorities say a motorist was arrested after he tried to cut in line at a filling station in Queens early Thursday and pointed a pistol at another motorist who complained, AP reports.

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Society

In Northern Kenya, Where Climate Change Is Measured In Starving Children

The worst drought in 40 years, which has deepened from the effects of climate change, is hitting the young the hardest around the Horn of Africa. A close-up look at the victims, and attempts to save lives and limit lasting effects on an already fragile region in Kenya.

Photo of five mothers holding their malnourished children

At feeding time, nurses and aides encourage mothers to socialize their children and stimulate them to eat.

Georgina Gustin

KAKUMA — The words "Stabilization Ward" are painted in uneven black letters above the entrance, but everyone in this massive refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, calls it ya maziwa: The place of milk.

Rescue workers and doctors, mothers and fathers, have carried hundreds of starving children through the doors of this one-room hospital wing, which is sometimes so crowded that babies and toddlers have to share beds. A pediatric unit is only a few steps away, but malnourished children don’t go there. They need special care, and even that doesn’t always save them.

In an office of the International Rescue Committee nearby, Vincent Opinya sits behind a desk with figures on dry-erase boards and a map of the camp on the walls around him. “We’ve lost 45 children this year due to malnutrition,” he says, juggling emergencies, phone calls, and texts. “We’re seeing a significant increase in malnutrition cases as a result of the drought — the worst we’ve faced in 40 years.”

From January to June, the ward experienced an 800 percent rise in admissions of children under 5 who needed treatment for malnourishment — a surge that aid groups blame mostly on a climate change-fueled drought that has turned the region into a parched barren.

Opinya, the nutrition manager for the IRC here, has had to rattle off these statistics many times, but the reality of the numbers is starting to crack his professional armor. “It’s a very sad situation,” he says, wearily. And he believes it will only get worse. A third year of drought is likely on the way.

More children may die. But millions will survive malnutrition and hunger only to live through a compromised future, researchers say. The longer-term health effects of this drought — weakened immune systems, developmental problems — will persist for a generation or more, with consequences that will cascade into communities and societies for decades.

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