This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Oct. 25, 2023

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Historic drought lowers Amazon River level, endangering indigenous peoples
  • Expedited work authorization permits urged for growing number of asylum seekers
  • Toxic waste cleanup worker safeguards lagging in $150B disaster restoration industry

The worst drought to impact the Amazon River in over a century has dramatically lowered water levels, cutting off isolated indigenous villages as boats used as essential transportation for supplies of food, water, and medicines, are stranded. In recent days, NGO groups have responded by delivering critical supplies.

(“Water Level of Amazon Port Hits Lowest Point in 121 Years,” Reuters, Oct. 16, 2023; “Indigenous Amazonians Urge Brazil to Declare Emergency Over Severe Drought,” Reuters, Oct. 10, 2023)

Big cities and states across the US are pushing for expedited work authorization permits from the Biden administration in order to allow the growing number of asylum seekers across the nation to find work and leave overcrowded shelters.  In September the Biden administration announced it would provide temporary legal status to Venezuelan migrants who arrived before August.

(“States Hope Finding Jobs for Migrants Will Clear Shelter Overload,” Stateline, Oct. 6, 2023; “AOC Slams Sanctions Against Venezuela and Deportation Flights,” Guardian, Oct. 6, 2023; “Tide Turns To Favour Venezuela Economic Sanctions Relief,” Forbes, Sept. 27, 2023)

Since Hurricane Katrina slammed through New Orleans in 2005, a new $150 billion disaster restoration industry has grown, responding to extreme weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires. Low wage immigrant workers hired by contractors often endure toxic work conditions, with little protection.

(“Toxic Labor,” Center for Public Integrity, Sept. 28, 2023)

This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.

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