ASIA Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 8 October...
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 30 August 2021, an improvised explosive device placed under a bench detonated outside of a police station in the Juan Atalaya neighborhood of the city of Cúcuta, located in the Norte de Santander department. At least three police officers suffered injuries in the blast, which also damaged the police station and windows of nearby buildings, as well as five nearby vehicles. Authorities have opened an investigation into the attack.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): Over the weekend of 28-29 August 2021, Hurricane Nora made landfall twice along the western coast of Mexico. Nora first made landfall on 28 August near the town of Vicente Guerrero in Jalisco state as a Category 1 hurricane before continuing north along the coast. The storm then made landfall a second time on 29 August near the resort town of Mazatlán in Sinaloa state before returning to the Gulf of California and weakening into a tropical storm.
Tropical Storm Nora then brought heavy rain to the states of Colima, Jalisco and Michoacán, and also knocked down trees, felled power lines and damaged roads across the three states. In Puerto Vallarta, located In Jalisco state, a Spanish national was killed when her hotel partially collapsed. One other person remains missing. The Cuale River, located in the Romantic Zone, destroyed a bridge and caused a hotel building to collapse after it burst its banks. Elsewhere in Jalisco state, two people were injured during landslides and approximately 500 homes were damaged after the Pedregal River overflowed. In Guerrero state, the Mexican navy is searching for six fishermen reported missing during the storm’s passage. The Mexican national guard has activated its emergency-response plan in Colima state to assist with recovery efforts.
As of 0300 local time (0900 UTC) on 30 August, the remnants of Nora were located approximately 105 km (65 mi) east-southeast of Los Mochis, Mexico. Nora had maximum sustained winds of 45 kph (30 mph) and was moving north-northwest at 15 kph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. The storm was forecast to continue moving north-northwest along the coast of Mexico over the next 24-48 hours. Nora is forecast to produce an additional 75-150 mm (3-6 in) of rain, with isolated maximums of 255 mm along the coast of Sinaloa. From 31 August-2 September the remnants of Nora are forecast to produce 50-100 mm of rainfall across Sonora state. As of 1 September, Nora’s remnants will also produce heavy rains for portions of the southwestern U.S. and central Rocky Mountains. Swells causing life-threatening surf and rip current conditions are expected to affect the southwestern coast of Mexico and the entirety of the Gulf of California through 30 August.
United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1155 local time (1655 UTC) on 29 August 2021, Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, as a Category 4 storm with wind speeds of 150 mph (240 kph). Ida caused significant damage and knocked out power across southern Louisiana. Officials with the Entergy utility firm stated that the hurricane damaged the local power transmission system, leaving all of Orleans Parish, which encompasses the city of New Orleans, without electricity. As of the latest reports, more than 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana are without electricity, mostly in the southern part of the state, and more than 105,000 homes and businesses are without electricity in the adjacent state of Mississippi. All inbound and outbound flights at New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport (KMSY/MSY) were canceled on 29 August, and nearly 90% of flights scheduled to operate on 30 August have been canceled so far. At least one storm-related fatality occurred in the Baton Rouge area.
Ida weakened into a tropical storm early on 30 August more than 12 hours after making landfall. As of 0700 local time on 30 August, Tropical Storm Ida was located approximately 65 mi (105 km) south-southwest of Jackson, Mississippi, and was moving north at 8 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Ida had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, with higher gusts. Ida is currently forecast to move over southeastern Louisiana and into southwestern Mississippi later in the morning of 30 August before moving over central and northeastern Mississippi during the afternoon and evening hours. Ida is expected to rapidly weaken and become a tropical depression by the evening of 30 August before moving across the Tennessee Valley on 31 August. The storm is forecast to produce an additional 4-8 inches (100-200 mm) of rain across southeastern Louisiana and into far-southern Mississippi. Total accumulations are forecast to reach 10-18 inches, with isolated maximums of 24 inches. Ida is expected to produce 6-12 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 15 inches, through the morning of 31 August along coastal Alabama and into the far-western Florida Panhandle. Central Mississippi into far western Alabama is expected to receive 4-8 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of 12 inches, through the evening of 30 August. The Middle Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley and the central and southern Appalachians into the Mid-Atlantic are forecast to receive 3-6 inches of rain.
A Storm Surge Warning is currently in effect from Louisiana’s Grand Isle to the Alabama- Florida border. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the aforementioned region, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and the New Orleans metropolitan area.
Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 30 August 2021, the U.S., the U.K. and more than 100 other countries released a statement – one day prior to the announced 31 August final withdrawal date — indicating that they had received assurances that the Taliban will allow foreign nationals and Afghan citizens with travel authorization to leave the country beyond 31 August. The signatories also stated they will continue to issue travel documents to certain Afghans.
Also on 30 August, unidentified militants fired at least five rockets from the Khairkhaneh area of the capital Kabul toward Hamid Karzai International Airport (OAKB/HKIA). U.S. officials stated that a missile defense system intercepted five rockets, but an undetermined number of rockets struck the Salim Karwan neighborhood near the airport. Information on damage or casualties in the Salim Karwan neighborhood was unavailable. No damage or casualties were reported at the airport and operations were largely unaffected. The Islamic State militant group later claimed responsibility for the attack.
On 29 August the U.S. military conducted a drone strike in Kabul targeting a vehicle allegedly transporting “multiple suicide bombers” from the Islamic State militant group. According to U.S. officials, the would-be attackers posed an “imminent” threat to Hamid Karzai International Airport during the ongoing evacuations. Local media reported that at least 10 civilians nearby were also killed in the attack. U.S. officials stated that they are investigating the matter.
On 28 August, U.S. military personnel began withdrawing from Hamid Karzai International Airport. A U.S. Department of State spokesperson has stated that at least 350 U.S. citizens or residents are still attempting to leave the country. The final U.K. evacuation flight left Kabul Airport on 28 August, and U.K. officials stated that they had left some intended evacuees behind. It is not yet known whether any of those left behind are British nationals.
In the city of Kabul, demonstrators marched through the streets to protest the two-week closure of all banks. The central bank, private banks and money exchanges have been largely closed since the Taliban took control of the city on 15 August. The Taliban ordered all banks – government and private – to resume operations on 28 August; however, bank officials did not resume operations, noting that the central bank of Afghanistan remains closed. The Taliban themselves ordered the initial closure on 15 August to prevent the collapse of the country’s currency. Without banks open, employers have not been able to pay their staff and those who have money in their accounts have been unable make withdrawals.
On 27 August, the U.S. military conducted a drone strike against an alleged member of the Islamic State in Nangahar province whom they believe was involved in planning attacks against Afghan nationals and U.S. forces. U.S. forces reported that the airstrike killed one person and there were no civilian casualties. It is unknown if the person targeted was directly involved in the 26 August suicide attack at the airport, which killed at least 175 people, including 13 U.S. military personnel.
Meanwhile French authorities completed their evacuation operation after transferring 3,000 people – including at least 2,600 Afghan citizens – to France. Italian authorities reported they also completed evacuation operations.
Thailand (Security threat level – 3): On 29 August 2021, anti-government protest leaders stated that they plan to begin daily nationwide protests beginning on 2 September, and will continue to do so until Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha resigns. Demonstrations in Bangkok are expected to take place during 1600-2000 local time (0900-1300 UTC) in front of the Asok skytrain station, located along Asok Montri Road at the intersection with Sukhumvit Road. The announcement followed a five-hour protest earlier in the day staged by a convoy of motorists who traveled from Bangkok to Pathum Thani.
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): On 29 August 2021, authorities reported that militants raided the village of Kasanzi-Kithovo, located in the eastern province of North Kivu, overnight on 27-28 August. At least 19 people were killed in the attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the raid; however, local authorities blame the attack on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) Islamist militant group.