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SUICIDE

Migrant boy, 11, commits suicide in Austria

Austrian police said on Friday that they were investigating the suicide of an 11-year-old Afghan migrant.

Migrant boy, 11, commits suicide in Austria
Austria has received almost 150,000 asylum claims since 2015. Photo: AFP

He died in a hospital near Vienna on Monday after being admitted a day earlier, police said. It was unclear how he killed himself.

The boy and his family had been living in a refugee centre in Baden, south of the capital, since last year, when a record influx of migrants arrived in Austria.

Media reports said the boy felt unable to cope with looking after his six siblings after his 23-year-old elder brother left him in charge.

According to public broadcaster Oe1, officials had been made aware of the family's precarious situation but failed to react.

Authorities have rejected the accusations, saying they had noticed “nothing unusual”.

Austrian ombudsman Guenther Kraeuter announced Friday he would open an inquiry.

Austria has received almost 150,000 asylum claims since 2015, making the wealthy nation of 8.75 million one of the highest recipients per capita in Europe's migration crisis.

The UN's children agency UNICEF regularly denounces “the lack of protective measures for migrant children in Europe”, accusing European Union member states of doing “much too little”.

ENERGY

Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

The City of Vienna is expanding its group of homes that can receive an energy cost voucher by the end of the year. Here's what you need to know.

Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

Austria’s capital Vienna is expanding a program to subsidise part of the energy bills of around 200,000 eligible households, the City said in a press release.

“Energy costs are difficult for many Viennese to cope with in the current situation. We are helping those who need the support most urgently – and we are doing so in a targeted manner by settling outstanding bills with energy providers”, City Councillor for Social Affairs Peter Hacker said.

The City has already agreed with state-run energy company Wien Energie that, from December 2022 to February 2023, no electricity, gas or heat shutdowns will happen – regardless of any payment issues.

READ ALSO: From lighting to ice skating: How Vienna plans to save energy

Now, a group of more vulnerable people can apply for Energy Support Plus to get up to €500 in aid with their energy bills.

The following people can apply online at wien.gv.at for Energy Support Plus: Recipients of Vienna minimum income (Bezieher*innen von Wiener Mindestsicherung), housing assistance (Wohnbeihilfe), AIVG benefits (AIVGLeistungen), a compensatory or supplementary allowance (einer Ausgleichs- oder Ergänzungszulage), GIS-exempt persons and low-income earners (GIS-Befreite und Geringverdienende) who are covered by the cost cap of the Renewable Expansion Act, those entitled to sickness benefit (Krankengeld), rehabilitation benefit (Rehabilitationsgeld), reintegration benefit (Wiedereingliederungsgeld) or transitional allowance (Übergangsgeld).

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to keep energy bills down in Austria

Applications can be submitted until December 31st, 2022. The maximum subsidy amount is €500 per household.

The service telephone of the Department for Social Affairs, Social and Health Law, is available at 01/4000-8040 for information and assistance with applications. Wien Energie’s customer service also offers personal assistance with the application process at Spittelau.

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