Philippines (Security threat level – 4) : Shortly before 0930 local time (0130 UTC) on 19 April 2022, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck off the coast of Davao Oriental province. The quake was centered approximately 45 km (30 mi) east of the Manay municipality and had an estimated depth of 19 km, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Moderate shaking was felt in areas close to the epicenter, including in the towns of Santiago and Caraga. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, and no tsunami warning was issued. At least two major aftershocks have been reported in the region following the initial tremor.
Sri Lanka (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 1730 local time (1200 UTC) on 19 April 2022, police officers deployed tear gas and fired live ammunition during clashes with protesters in the central town of Rambukkana — located approximately 70 km (45 mi) northeast of Colombo — amid anti-government demonstrations calling for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Protesters were reportedly blocking a rail crossing and attempting to set fire to a vehicle when the clashes with police officers occurred. According to local reports, at least one person was killed and approximately 24 others were injured — including eight police officers.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 18 April 2022, most U.S. air carriers, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, announced that passengers on board their flights will no longer be required to wear face masks. The airlines’ decision comes immediately after the U.S. government’s declaration that it will no longer enforce face mask mandates on public transport, following the ruling of a federal court judge in Florida who determined the directive to be unlawful. The Transportation Security Administration recently reported an increase in travelers passing through airport checkpoints, indicating an uptick in domestic and international travel originating from U.S. airports.
Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 4 / 5): At approximately 0900 local time (0600 UTC) on 19 April 2022, Israeli security forces deployed tear gas to disperse crowds in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, resulting in injury to an unspecified number of people. Tensions around the mosque remain high, as Israeli security forces have been seen escorting Jewish residents to the mosque grounds to carry out Passover celebrations throughout the day. The event follows previous clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces on the premises on 15 and 17 April.
Earlier on 19 April, the Israeli air force bombed suspected weapons manufacturing facilities in the Gazan cities of Rafah and Khan Yunis. Hamas militants responded with anti-aircraft missiles. Information on injuries was unavailable. The airstrikes were conducted the day after Israel’s missile defense system intercepted a projectile fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel. Local media reported that rocket sirens were activated in the southern Israeli communities of Kissufim and Ein Hashlosha — both located adjacent to the Gaza Strip. An explosion was also heard in the area. No injuries or damage were reported. This was the first projectile attack emanating from Gaza in four months.
South Africa (Security threat level – 4): On 18 April 2022, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of emergency nationwide following heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding on 11-12 April that caused widespread damage and significant casualties in the southeastern part of the country. Approximately 443 people were killed, 63 people remain missing, and nearly 40,000 more were displaced due to the effects of heavy rainfall. Additionally, 600 schools were damaged, and numerous roads, bridges and ports were flooded in the region. Officials are currently assessing the extent of the damage caused by the severe weather, and about 10,000 military personnel have been deployed to restore essential services in the affected areas.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 18 April 2022, the U.S. Mission to Mexico issued a Security Alert restricting travel to Zacatecas state, which reads in part as follows: “U.S. government employees may no longer travel to Zacatecas state, with the exception of air travel to and from Zacatecas City. U.S. government employees may not travel to Zacatecas City overland.
“Zacatecas state has experienced violent turf battles between cartels. The state’s homicide rate in 2021 was more than double the previous year’s rate, and was the highest in Mexico. U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) have been victims of kidnapping.”