In this June 15, 2019, photo, men work near a monument under construction honouring victims of the Elaine massacre that sits across from the Phillips County court in Helena, Arkansas [File: Noreen Nasir/AP]
Officials in Arkansas are investigating after someone cut down a willow tree that was planted to honour the victims of the 1919 Elaine massacre, one of the largest racial mass killings in United States history, US media reported this weekend.
The Elaine Legacy Center said the tree was chopped down at its base last week and a memorial tag was stolen. Memphis, Tennessee, television station WMC reported that police and state parks officials are investigating.
The tree was planted in April in remembrance of the victims of the massacre, which occurred during the summer of 1919, when hundreds of African Americans died at the hands of white mob violence during what became known as the “Red Summer”.
Events are planned for later next month to mark the 100th anniversary of the massacre in Arkansas.
“Hacking down a tree is not graffiti. Graffiti is vandalism, okay? Hacking down a tree is a hateful act,” Arkansas judge and pastor Wendell Griffen told WMC. Griffen added that the incident warrants a hate crime investigation.
“They see us as having no value. Our feelings don’t matter. Our pain doesn’t matter. Our memories don’t matter. The folks that were massacred don’t matter and our families don’t matter,” Griffen told the local news station.
Flooding along the Ganges River Aug 21, 2019. Credit: Sanjay Kanojia / AFP / Getty Images.
.- Just a year after devastating floods swept through Kerala, India, the state is again facing devastating flooding.
Indian officials said that heavy rains this month have resulted in landslides and flash floods. According to ucanews, 100 people in Kerala have been killed and 1,115 homes have been destroyed.
According to the Indian Express, over 150,000 people have been relocated to one of the 1,221 relief camps in Kerala.
Father George Vettikattil, secretary of the Justice, Peace and Development Commission of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council, said 300 church institutions are being used as relief camps for about 45,000 people. Like last year, he said, Catholic fishing communities are also using their boats for rescue missions.
“We have opened all our institutions to accommodate needy people in temporary and safe accommodation,” he told Vatican News.
Vettikattill told ucanews that “the destruction is less than last year.” In 2018, the monsoon season was the worst Kerala had seen in nearly a century. The natural disaster took over 400 lives and damaged 75,000 homes.
Families are still working to rebuild after last year’s floods.
Vettikattill said many people have offered money and volunteer work to help rebuilt the community. Caritas India alone has carried out $4 million worth of rebuilding efforts, including a loan program to help families buy goats, which can then be used to sell milk. In three years, the families are expected to repay the diocese with a baby lamb.
The loans help, but they are not enough, according to Kunjumol and Velayudhan, one couple participating in the program. They said the income from the goat’s milk will not be enough to rebuild their damaged home. They believe the government must do more to assist.
“The government has almost abandoned us,” he said, according to ucanews. “Some officials came and asked us questions but we got none of the benefits the government promised in the media.”