Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Sep 9, 2021 in Stuff You Should Know

AirBnB Provides Housing for Afghan Refugees

Tens of thousands of refugees are fleeing Afghanistan for other countries, including the United States.  Airbnb, an American rental company, is helping address this emergency by providing free housing for 20,000 refugees. The refugees will be housed (temporarily) in the same properties you would find if you were searching the Airbnb website for a place to stay.

How will this be paid for? Hosts of properties all over the world will be paid by Airbnb, as well as with direct donations from Brian Chesky, the company’s founder. People can also donate to the $25 million Airbnb.org Refugee Fund, which was started back in June 2021. In the past four years, Airbnb and Airbnb.org (its independent nonprofit organization) have temporarily housed roughly 25,000 refugees. Between August 30 and September 6, 2021, more than 200 refugees from Afghanistan who arrived here in the United States were able to find free temporary housing through the program. The service is also available to people escaping wildfires, hurricanes, and other crises., The service also aids essential workers who are away from home to provide emergency services in the wake of these disasters.

The Biden administration estimates that the United States can expect to receive (and will need to house) as many as 50,000 Afghan refugees. The Airbnb website makes it easy for anyone to help out. In addition to a “donate” button, the company’s website also provides a link for Airbnb hosts who would like to house a refugee family.

Dig Deeper Learn more about other businesses providing emergency relief services by visiting the Tent.org website. Choose one of the companies listed, and write a paragraph describing the company and what emergency goods or services it provides.

Hurricane Ida Makes Landfall

On August 29, 2021, Hurricane Ida made landfall on the Louisiana coastline. The Category 4 hurricane brought winds as high as 170 mph. It knocked out power for more than one million people and temporarily disrupted New Orleans’ 911 emergency response system.

Effects in Louisiana

Officials have stated that it might take more than a month for power to be completely restored in the area. The hurricane also caused widespread flooding along its path, as well as shutting down ninety percent of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. At least fifty people across several states have died as a result of the storm. Hurricane Ida naturally brought comparisons to Hurricane Katrina, which happened exactly sixteen years earlier. Katrina also hit New Orleans, and was the most devastating storm in U.S. history, killing 1,800 people. (For comparison, Ida is the fifth-strongest storm to ever hit the U.S. mainland.) Ironically, Katrina saved lives indirectly. Following the 2006 hurricane, New Orleans strengthened its flood defenses, which provided added protection when Ida hit.

Damage in the Northeast

As Ida moved inland, it was downgraded to a tropical depression. However, it continued to cause serious damage as it moved into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Heavy rainfall led to dangerous flooding and tornadoes. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said on September 4, 2021, that the number of people who died in New Jersey had risen to 27. New York City had its first flash flood emergency in history, with 13 people killed in the city. More than eight hundred subway passengers had to be rescued by the New York City Fire Department. Overall, New York and New Jersey were the hardest hit as the storm moved northeast.

President Biden has declared a major disaster and has pledged federal aid to Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York to assist with rescue and recovery efforts. Fifteen states have sent 25,000 workers to help restore power, and five thousand National Guard members have been deployed. People who evacuated their homes before Ida arrived are being told by authorities not to return yet, due to the extent and severity of the damage.

Dig Deeper To better understand how far-reaching the damage caused by Hurricane Ida  was, use Internet resources to locate a map of the United States. Trace the path the storm took, from Louisiana up through New Jersey and New York.

Children’s Hospitals in Crisis

More than 220 children’s hospitals sent a letter to the Biden administration the week of August 30, 2021, seeking support due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These hospitals asked the White House for more funding to help keep them running. Children’s hospitals are running out of beds to place patients. With the rise of the COVID-19 delta variant, more children are being infected and hospitalized and those under 12 still cannot receive a vaccine. As of August 6, 2021, nearly 94,000 children were diagnosed with COVID. Two thousand U.S. children were hospitalized with the COVID-19 variant.

Pediatric nurse listening to child patient's chest
Childrens hospitals around the country reached out to the Biden administration for help. Credit: Arthur Tilley/Getty Images

The letter explains to President Biden that when businesses were shut down at the start of the pandemic in March 2019, many hospitals lost money. Many patients’ families suffered economically because of the shutdown. They were less able to pay their medical bills, and this has hurt hospitals’ finances as well. The hospitals hope that financial help from the White House can improve the hospital’s budget problems and allow them to better care for and treat patients

It’s likely that the COVID vaccine won’t be available for children under age 12 until 2022. In the meantime, the Children’s Hospital Association is asking the Biden administration for additional funding to care for those under 12. They want some of this money to be used to help train staff in specialized care for infants and children.

Dig Deeper Find out more about the children’s hospital in your area. Did the hospital sign the letter to the Biden administration? What safety protocols are in place at the hospital to protect children from the COVID-19? Find a fact sheet or video on the children’s hospital website to learn more.

Five-Year-Old Hikes Appalachian Trial

Harvey Sutton just completed a thru-hike of the roughly 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail. Why is that unusual? Because Harvey is just five years old.

Harvey, who is from Virginia, began hiking the trail in January 2021, when he was four years old, along with his parents, Josh and Cassie Sutton. Every morning, the trio woke up just before 6:00 am to pack up their gear and begin another ten-hour day of hiking. Together, they traversed fourteen states from Georgia to Maine. Harvey, who just started kindergarten, turned five along the trail, where his nickname was “Little Man.”

If you’re curious how a preschooler managed to accomplish what most adults wouldn’t even consider trying, the answer is training and entertainment. Harvey’s parents say that they started training him to distance-walk at a very young age. He started distance-walking when he was two, and gradually increased the mileage. The other secret, they say, was that they kept Harvey occupied along the trail every day with make-believe games. Other thru-hikers helped out, by hiding small toys and glow sticks along the trail for him to find. Hikers also gave him presents like Hot Wheels, a pocket watch, and a pet rock. And Harvey kept his energy up with a special trail treat: Skittles sprinkled onto peanut butter tortillas.

Dig Deeper Harvey Sutton is one of the youngest people to ever hike the entire Appalachian Trail. Dale “Greybeard” Sanders is the oldest. Use Internet resources to learn more about Sanders, and write a brief biography based on what you find.