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News in Brief 3 November 2020

News in Brief 3 November 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

UN chief condemns deadly attacks in Austrian capital

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has strongly condemned shootings in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on Monday evening, which left four dead and many others with life-threatening injuries.

According to media reports, there were six separate gun attacks in the city centre, and police were continuing their hunt for suspects on Tuesday.

Mr. Guterres’s spokesperson said in a statement that he was following the situation with “utmost concern”.

“[He] strongly condemns these attacks and reaffirms the solidarity of the United Nations with the people and the Government of Austria”, the statement noted.

Mr. Guterres also offered his condolences to the families of the victims and wished those injured a speedy recovery.

Vienna hosts a number of key UN offices, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Côte d’Ivoire election violence forces thousands to flee

Thousands of people have fled Côte d’Ivoire amid post-election violence there, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday.

Clashes erupted after the presidential election, which was held on 31 October, leaving at least a dozen dead and many more injured, UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov told journalists in Geneva.

Most of those seeking shelter are women and children from Côte d’Ivoire’s west and southwest regions, Mr. Cheshirkov said:

“What we have seen is the majority of those coming across the border are women and children. In fact more than half those that have come in to Libera and Ghana have been children. We are still trying to assess the profile of the people and why they are moving as they are right now. That is why we are boosting our capacity and deploying staff.”

The developments follow the overwhelming re-election of 78-year-old incumbent President Alassane Ouattara, with a reported 94 per cent of the vote.

The election happened amid tension over President Ouattara’s decision to run for a third term, after he had gone on record as saying that he intended to step down.

To date, UNHCR has reported more than 3,200 Ivorian refugee arrivals in Liberia, Ghana and Togo.

They include former Ivorian refugees who had only recently returned home, before being forced to flee once again. 

Around 1,000 arrived in Liberia in 24 hours by passing through several entry points along the border with Cote d’Ivoire.

They are now being hosted by local communities who have shared what limited resources and shelter they have, UNHCR said.

The UN agency also expressed its gratitude to Côte d’Ivoire’s neighbours for keeping their borders open, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aid teams provide emergency relief in Philippines after ‘super typhoon’ 

Finally, UN agencies and aid partners have continued to deploy emergency relief in the Philippines to help communities devastated by Typhoon Goni.

The “super storm” – so named because it was the most powerful of the year so far - battered the Philippines on Sunday with heavy rainfall, flooding and landslides - and winds of up to 225 kilometres per hour.

Latest updates from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 11 towns have been cut off and that at least 10,000 houses were either destroyed or damaged.

Flooding also affected Albay province, while lava deposits from the active Mayon volcano, liquefied as mud flows and buried at least 300 houses in Guinobatan.

Before the typhoon made landfall, local authorities evacuated more than 457,000 people and opened well over 2,200 reception centres.

Although response efforts have been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, five UN agencies are cooperating with the government and national partners to provide relief and continue assessing needs.

These include UN Children’s Fund UNICEF - which has distributed water and sanitation and tents for child-friendly spaces - and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) which is providing satellite imagery of affected areas to local government.

The Philippines has had more than 383,000 cases of new coronavirus, the second-most in southeast Asia behind Indonesia. 

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

  • UN stands with Austria over deadly shootings
  • "Super typhoon" Goni leaves towns cut off
  • Côte d’Ivoire election violence sees thousands flee
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Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
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