Skip to main content

News in Brief 17 November 2020

News in Brief 17 November 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations. 

‘Potentially catastrophic’ impact in Central America from new hurricane: UN  

Hurricane Iota, which has made landfall in Central America, could have “potentially catastrophic consequences” on communities there, UN agencies warned on Tuesday. 

There are fears that the storm will bring more devastating winds, torrential rainfall and landslides, to Nicaraguans, Hondurans and their neighbours who are already reeling from hurricane Eta earlier this month. 

Clare Nullis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) told journalists in Geneva that hurricane Iota is the 30th named tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. 

“Iota made landfall less than two weeks after Hurricane Eta, which was also a very strong category four hurricane, made landfall just 25 kilometres apart. So we're having these huge impacts hitting basically the same area. Nicaragua, Honduras, other parts of Central America have not recovered from hurricane Eta, and now they're being slammed by this new terrifically powerful hurricane.” 

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said that aid workers in Central America were still discovering the extent of damage from the hurricane. 

It warned that the situation was potentially catastrophic and rapidly developing because the soil had already been saturated by Eta.  

Damage assessments are being constantly revised as access improves to the most affected areas, OCHA added, with three million people affected in Honduras by this month’s storms and more than 900,000 people “directly” suffering from Eta in Guatemala. 

 ‘Full-scale crisis’ unfolding on Ethiopia’s border with Sudan: UNHCR 

Renewed concerns now about a “full-scale humanitarian crisis” on Ethiopia’s border with Sudan as thousands of refugees flee ongoing fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. 

People have been crossing the border at a rate of 4,000 per day since 10 November, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR

Spokesperson Babar Baloch said that the number of arrivals has overwhelmed humanitarians: 

“This is an influx unseen over the last two decades in this part of Sudan. So far, more than 27,000 refugees have now crossed into Sudan through the Hamdayet border in Kassala State, the Lugdi in Gedaref State and a new location further south at Aderafi border where Ethiopian refugees started crossing over the past weekend.” 

Aid agencies have continued to distribute relief items including blankets and sleeping mats.  

The World Food Programme, WFP, is also working with partners to help prepare and provide hot meals for refugees at reception centres in Kassala and Gedaref.  

Where cooking facilities are not available, the agency is providing immediate sustenance through meals ready to eat, including high energy biscuits.  

Hot meals are also being provided by Muslim Aid.  

Civilians Continue to Flee Insecurity in Cabo Delgado Mozambique 

Finally to northern Mozambique, where tens of thousands of people are continuing to flee violence, the UN migration agency, IOM, said on Tuesday. 

New data from IOM shows that more than 33,000 civilians have moved south in the last week - including many forced to flee attacks.  

There has been a four-fold increase of displaced people in Cabo Delgado to more than 355,000 from around 88,000 earlier this year, the agency said. 

The ongoing emergency comes days after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that civilians - and especially women and children – have endured numerous attacks, kidnapping and reported beheadings by armed groups, who have also clashed with government forces. 

In addition to a lack of access caused by high levels of insecurity in several northern and coastal districts, IOM said that the Government and humanitarian partners lack the resources to provide for “the extensive humanitarian needs of families who arrive with nothing”. 

One survivor of an attack in Macomia district in Cabo Delgado told IOM that their family of seven adults and 11 children lost everything after their community went up in flames.  

Daniel Johnson, UN News. 

  • ‘Potentially catastrophic’ impact in Central America from new hurricane: UN 

  •  ‘Full-scale crisis’ unfolding on Ethiopia’s border with Sudan: UNHCR 

  • Civilians Continue to Flee Insecurity in Cabo Delgado Mozambique 


Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Audio Duration
Photo Credit