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Runoff Presidential election in Brazil and Tropical Storm Nalgae in the Philippines


Brazil: Bolsonaro supporters paralyze travel as Lula wins runoff

Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva narrowly defeated far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro in the Oct. 30 runoff presidential election, prompting Bolsonaro supporters to erect hundreds of roadblocks and disrupt travel across Brazil. According to the Brazilian Supreme Court, Bolsonaro has “effectively” conceded defeat by authorizing a transition of power. While encouraging peaceful demonstrations, the former president urged his supporters to halt disruptions in a two-minute speech on Nov. 1, which appeared to have decreased the number of demonstrations, though many of his supporters continue to maintain roadblocks that are disrupting transportation and food supply chains. According to the Brazilian Highway Police, 167 barricades remain in place across the country as of Nov. 2, down from 563 on Oct. 31. In addition to ground travel disruptions, highway blockades have resulted in the cancellation of at least 25 flights at the Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo and shortages of products in supermarkets in at least seven Brazilian states. The run-off followed the Oct. 2 general election in which neither candidate secured more than 50% of the votes, as well as a particularly divisive campaign marred by politically motivated violence targeting elected officials, public employees, and supporters of the rival candidates representing opposite sides of the political spectrum. Despite fears of escalating violence ahead of the run-off, the vote proceeded relatively peacefully. Assuming Bolsonaro honors his promise of a peaceful transition of power, the Federal Highway Police will likely clear the remaining roadblocks in the coming days. However, the political division highlighted by the presidential campaign appears to remain, and Lula is likely to face stiff opposition to his proposed policies as left-wing parties failed to secure a majority in the congressional elections.




The Philippines: Nalgae Triggers widespread infrastructure damage

Tropical Storm Nalgae made landfall in the southern Philippines on Oct. 29, triggering widespread flooding and landslides that resulted in casualties and significant infrastructure damage. According to the Philippine government, the storm killed at least 121 people, injured 103 others, and displaced 170,000. Government figures indicate that Nalgae destroyed or damaged 4,200 private properties, USD 22 million worth of agricultural products, and USD 13 million worth of infrastructure, making it the second most destructive storm to impact the Philippines this year after Tropical Strom Megi killed 214 people in April. While the southern island of Mindanao experienced the most destruction, the storm also affected central regions, as well as Manila and nearby provinces, with power outages reported in at least 400,000 households throughout the capital and Laguna, Cavite, and Batangas provinces on Oct. 30. The storm also disrupted international travel; Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport suspended operations from 0800 to 1400 GMT on Oct. 29 and canceled 181 flights due to strong winds. According to the coast guard, 107 vessels and 7,500 passengers and workers were also stranded in the country’s ports. Relief and rescue operations are ongoing countrywide, although debris and infrastructure damage are likely to complicate disaster response efforts and travel, particularly in the hardest-hit southern regions. Nalgae exited the Philippines on Oct. 31 and is expected to weaken before making landfall in Hong Kong on the evening of Nov. 2. In preparation for the storm, Hong Kong Observatory issued the third-highest storm alert, triggering the closure of several educational institutions and offices and the suspension of public transportation operations.

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