A month after floods, nightmare continues for eastern Kentucky. Four more states ban nearly all abortions this week. Ukraine nuclear plan cut off from grid.
A month after floods, nightmare continues for eastern Kentucky
It’s been nearly a months since floods devastated several counties in eastern Kentucky. The search effort for victims continues, with 39 confirmed dead so far. Despite the best efforts of volunteer organizations, the plight of many residents in the impoverished and mountainous region has improved little since floodwaters receded.
Several towns and three entire counties remain without access to running water. Because of the extensive infrastructure damage, service may not be restored in some areas until December or January. Those who don’t have a well must travel to centers where volunteers have set up temporary showers and laundry facilities.
Having lost everything, many residents have already left the area and others plan to do so. Those who have stay put and hope to rebuild are living with neighbors or in tents, trailers and temporary shelters as they try to salvage their homes. Relief from the government has been slow to arrive. Several people who have applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for financial help have seen their applications turned down multiple times. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has urged residents not to take FEMA’s initial rejection has a final answer. With mountains of bureaucratic red tape to negotiate, even one missing or misfiled document can result in a rejection.
FEMA agents are on the ground, but the terrain and isolated homesteads pose challenges. It may be years before those who have lost their homes are made whole, if ever.
Four more states ban nearly all abortions this week
Trigger laws banning nearly all abortions go into effect in Tennessee, Texas, Idaho today and in North Dakota tomorrow. These laws, voted in in many Red States as far back as 2007, were put in place to ban abortions in the states if Roe v. Wade were overturned. None of the laws in any of these states have any exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Abortions are allowed only in cases where the mother’s life is in imminent danger.
However, Idaho’s law as initially written was by far the most draconian. It would have criminalized even abortions in emergency situations. This would have forced doctors who provide life-saving abortions to defend themselves in court after the fact. In a lawsuit by the Justice Department, a federal judge ruled that this portion of Idaho’s abortion ban violated federal law, which requires emergency room doctors at institutions accepting Medicare to render life-saving care. The judge ordered a temporary injunction preventing this portion of the law from coming into effect. But this legal fight is not over.
Ukraine nuclear plan cut off from grid
The nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine has been disconnected from the electrical grid after fires in the area downed overhead power lines. Zaporizhzhia supplies about 1/5 of Ukraine’s electrical power. Last week, Ukrainian officials claimed that Russian forces, who’ve been occupying the plant for months, are planning to cut off power supply to the area from Zaporizhzhia in order to connect it to Russia’s power grid, via occupied Crimea. As a result. several towns and cities in the local area are currently without power.
This could pose a danger to Zaporizhzhia’s safety mechanisms. For now, the safeguards are receiving power from a nearby thermal plant. But the international community and particularly IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, has expressed alarm at Russia’s actions. Any interruption to power at the plant could trigger a nuclear emergency.
Meanwhile in Russia, Vladimir Putin has ordered a 10% boost in recruitment to the country’s armed services. Russian forces have suffered heavy losses since the Ukraine invasion began in February. It’s impossible to now exactly how many, as the Kremlin has massively understated its losses publicly.
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